How To Be A Bride With No Wedding Regrets

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Wedding Ceremony Tips

The choice between a civil and religious ceremony is a very personal one and, in reality, is usually very clear cut for the majority of people.  Wherever and however you choose to say your vows, the important thing is that you both want to say them isn’t it?



More and more venues are able to offer couples the opportunity to get married either in their grounds or within one or more of their rooms. This has really opened up the options available when choosing where to hold your wedding and often means that the ceremony and reception take place in the same location - making transport and travel problems a thing of the past! The main thing to watch out for with civil ceremonies is that the atmosphere can sometimes be lost if the preparation has been neglected: special care and thought needs to go into making a day-to-day room feel like a magical place. To really transform the room, think about the 5 senses and make sure that all of them are covered:

1)  Sight: using chair covers, creative lighting and a little bit of thought no-one will even recognise the room! Ensure that unsightly items (such as projectors or whiteboards if it’s a conference room) are removed or hidden.

2)  Hearing: you’ll no doubt have music played at various points so ensure that you know how this will be played and who is controlling it! This may sound pedantic but you should hear your registrar prior to booking them if possible as there are a few with dreadful accents that will ruin the feel of your ceremony!

3)  Touch: your chair covers will automatically help with this one and perhaps a pretty order of service on every other chair too.

4)  Smell: add a drop of scent to the candles to add to the room’s atmosphere. Your flowers will provide a lovely fresh smell too.

5)  Taste: OK, so you’re not going to hand out sweets but let’s use taste in its other sense! A classy, tasteful room that makes people tingle as they walk in... that’s what you’re aiming for!

With care and attention, a civil ceremony can be stunning and moving... you can even write your own vows!


Religious ceremonies are still extremely popular and couples have various reasons for choosing this option: some opt for it because of tradition, some to please a family member, some because religion and God play a real part in their lives. Whatever your reason for choosing to marry in church, you will find the organisation side less stressful than a civil ceremony in that the building itself is probably already magical and atmospheric. My top 5 tips for a religious ceremony are:

1)  Meet the priest/vicar in person and also hear him ‘in action’ – you need to like him/her if you’re going to buy into what he/she says during the ceremony.

2)  Check the church rules i.e. is confetti allowed, can the ceremony be videoed and/or photographed? If a video of the service is important to you but the church doesn’t allow it then you may want to look elsewhere.

3)  Find ways around things! Although you are supposed to marry in your parish church, there are ways around this! If you find that your priest/vicar is very awkward (or that their rules are unfair) then take your business elsewhere: it may seem harsh to call it ‘business’ but when you see the price that churches charge you’ll appreciate that it really is. I speak from experience here!

4)  Add candles, flowers, scent and floral pew ends to really create something special.

5) Choose hymns wisely: there is no point choosing something obscure that no-one knows as it will simply result in quiet mumbling throughout the song. Choose something that people will be comfortable singing aloud and, if you’re worried that your guests will chicken out, invite the church choir or even a few of the parish regulars to pump up the volume!

The best thing to do is close your eyes and picture the way that you’d like to feel when standing at the altar... that should tell you if your choices are right.


Enjoy It!

Whichever type of ceremony you opt for, be sure that you’ve chosen for yourself and that you’ve thought through the details... they’re over in a flash! Whether it’s a church, a hotel conference room, a beach or a conservatory you’ll enter as a single girl and exit as a married woman... make it special!


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// NO WEDDING REGRETS // Don't 'Over-Plan!'

Don’t ‘overplan’ your evening’s timings!

Clock Watching at your wedding!!

So here we are again: another top tip for you future ‘brides without regret!’

As you may remember from my blog about photography, every wedding we’ve ever attended runs late – without exception. Some only a little, but late nonetheless! I receive emails asking for timing advice all of the time and my answer is always the same: it won’t happen at the time you think it will!


Two things will remain on time even if you don’t: the buffet and last orders!

When you have lots to fit in, the temptation is to schedule a choc-a-bloc evening with no room for error. Every bride that has ever said that the room-turnaround would be 6-7 has trotted out of that room after 7pm for sure!

Here’s a step-by-step guide to a smoother evening:

*Before we continue, get a pen and paper and make some notes so that you, your partner and your entertainer/s know what’s happening!


If your evening invitations say 7pm, expect all of your guests at 7.45pm!

Nobody wants to be the first to arrive in the evening so allow at least 45 minutes in your head for those extra guests to arrive. This also allows you a buffer zone for your wedding breakfast running late too (after your wedding speeches take longer than you ever thought they could!) If you’re expecting your meal to finish at 6pm it will probably be 7pm before you leave the room, therefore 8pm until you can get back in. Provided that there is somewhere for people to relax and get a drink, this is no problem. Your evening guests can then filter in and chat to you before you all move back into the room at 8ish. If you happen to be the first wedding to ever finish on time, then great – your disco music will be playing when they arrive from 7pm for your day guests too! You’ve nothing to lose! The important thing is to not plan anything to happen before 8pm: it probably won’t and, if it does, not everyone will be there to see it!


Keep everyone together!

Our golden rule to creating a successful and enjoyable evening reception is that everyone needs a reason to be somewhere! So, if for example you have Fireworks, how do you get your guests back inside if it’s a lovely day? Your entertainer/s can only do so much: so short of using a cattle prod (and we’ve considered this!!) they will require your help and foresight into how to alleviate this issue.

I’m not talking about you becoming a dictator here (ultimately everyone should share a magical day together) I am simply trying to make you aware of the problems that you are likely to face and give some suggestions on how to alleviate them!


When is your entertainment setting up?

Whoever you chose as your entertainment provider, they will need time to set up and you must allow sufficient time for this. Depending on what entertainment you have, set up times can vary drastically. Factors like the distance from the vehicle to the performance area, possible power issues (this is quite common in temporary marquees!) and lifts/stairs are all things that come into play here. That said, Adam’s show can be fully set up in 1 hour despite these issues! Remember: if your turnaround time begins later than planned, the set up will still require the same amount of time! If it takes an hour, then it takes an hour!


If it’s sunny and hot, be prepared to ‘lose’ your guests for a bit!

The one and only down fall to having a gloriously sunny and warm wedding day is that you will inevitably ‘lose’ some of your guests to the terrace as they soak up the sun or enjoy the warm Summer evening!

Another thing to consider here is that the days are longer during the summer months: are you ok with having your first dance in broad daylight at 9pm? Once again, just think about these things over!


Let’s get the party started… well not just yet!

At this point (8.15pm) it is ideal to have your choice of entertainment perform their 1st set: this set should contain songs that will ‘warm’ your guests, getting them swaying and singing. It is important to remember that your wedding day is a very long day for most of your guests (and very tiring), so your entertainment should try not to peek too soon!

For those of you that are lucky enough to have booked Adam, he performs all the Michael Bublé style Swing in his 1st set as this caters for all tastes and especially involves your older guests from the very beginning! ‘Everything’, ‘Save The Last Dance’, ‘New York, New York’: Adam’s aim is to create a crescendo at the end of each set, and the night overall. For this reason, having everyone in the same room (including your late arrivals) is very important for the overall atmosphere.


Your First Dance as Husband and Wife!

After 15 minutes of disco music, Adam will then announce the Bride & Groom’s very first dance! Fed, watered, warmed-up and happy, he will then gather your guests around the edge of the dance floor (with cameras in hand) as you are announced into the room and onto the dance floor as Mr & Mrs.....! Your first dance will be performed live (or played as discussed) and you can choose to have the wedding party join you half way through the song or for the 2nd song (which can be slow or fast – both work here!) You could even choose to do something completely different like Kim and Andy Newberry! Take a look here. We put this together for them and, should you wish to do the same, simply contact us and we’ll be glad to help!


Now, let’s get the party started? For sure!

As everyone is already on their feet for your first dance/s and ready to groove, Adam will launch into his second set of new and old soul and pop, keeping everyone on the dance floor and having a great time! After Adam’s encore (around 10pm), everyone will stay up on their feet as you leap straight into the disco – no gaps! This leaves the last few hours as your disco... yet more grooving!


But when shall we have the buffet?

10pm is the ideal time for buffet if you are having one. Your venue will probably suggest earlier (it’s easier for them, not you!) but, from experience, it goes down much better at 10pm!


So, in summary…

This is by far the best order – we’ve had requests for every variation and seen the pitfalls of each. In theory you could have your Adam’s 90 minutes of vocals and 3.5 hours of disco in any order but, as you’ve paid to have a professional performer, you should make the most of him and make sure that all of your guests get to see him and peek ‘together.’

Before you know it, midnight will arrive and the evening will be over... enjoy every second of it while you can because it really does finish all too quickly!


Finally: if things go slightly off schedule, don’t worry! Only you will know!




Take A Big Step Back!

Get Away From It All!


This is probably the most talked about piece of wedding advice: every bride I have ever spoken to at the end of her big day has said that the whole thing has just flown by too quickly. No matter how long you set aside for the meal, the photos, the buffet etc... it ALWAYS runs over and the day is over before you even realise that it's begun.


"It's OK, we've allowed time to chat during reception drinks"

Forget it. Whatever time you think things will happen, you'll run over. As someone whose husband is late for everything except his gigs (yes, don't worry, he's EARLY for those!) I was very aware of allowing lots of time for EVERYTHING on my wedding day and I didn't want to have to rush people from place to place: we've all been to weddings where the guests have to be herded like cattle to the photo area or into the reception area! My venue advised allowing 3 hours for the wedding breakfast - I nearly choked! What on earth could take 3 hours? I even worried that it would mean a lot of waiting around in between courses and the last thing I wanted was my guests sitting waiting. I had allowed tons of extra time for everything: even the 5 minute trip from the church I had allowed 45 minutes for! I started the day feeling confident that everything had its own time slot and that, if anything, there might be too much waiting around...


Wrong! I arrived at the church 5 minutes late as it took a long time in a vintage car (and even longer to squeeze me and my dress in and out of it!) Later that day, despite only wanting a few formal pictures and the rest to be reportage, I found the organizer whispering in my ear that we should make a move towards the marquee for dinner ASAP.  I told her that we weren't due in there until 4pm but she politely informed me that it was gone 4.30pm and it would now be at least 5.30 before the line up was finished and we had everyone seated and ready to be served! Even the speeches that everyone promised would be short lasted a good half an hour (although I think 25 minutes were taken up by mine!)  And so you can see how the day continued - despite my careful planning!


"So should I just allow more time?"


Yes and no. My advice is threefold here:


1. Allow lots and lots of time for EVERYTHING. Your guests are not marines and won't stick to your schedule no matter how much you try to force them!


2. Accept that things WILL run over a little bit no matter how much time you allow... but that's OK!


3. This is the most important point and my main reason for writing this blog: take it all in. Don't think about what's happening next, don't worry about your speech, don't stress over how people are getting on or if they like the food, don't panic over the time... you can't rewind and do it all again at the end! If something goes wrong - it goes wrong, that's NOT the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing that can happen is the day passes you by without you enjoying a second of it because you're worrying in case something goes wrong!


Keep reminding yourself that this really is it: you have to make the most of it. During the meal, take a moment to chat to each other about your day so far and look around the room and notice who is where, what they are wearing: take a photo in your mind. Remind yourselves that they are all there for the two of you, appreciate how fantastic your flowers look after all the time it took to chose them, notice the name cards, favours, bridesmaids: see it all as a complete picture whilst you can. In the evening, circulate together: many couples complain that they hardly see each other all evening because they're busy chatting to guests and socialising separately (probably having the same conversations with each person that they see!) Make a concerted effort to do this together - you'll manage to speak to everyone in the room in half the time and will have at least been together! Again, set aside 5 minutes every hour to "zoom out" and look at what's happening together. Milk it as much as you possibly can... it'll be over in a flash.