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Top wedding tips from the pros

PUBLISHED: 10:04 16 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:40 29 February 2016

Raye Lowe Studios, Cheshunt

Raye Lowe Studios, Cheshunt


Planning a wedding is an exciting yet daunting process - we asked leading wedding specialists in Hertfordshire to give their top tips and ideas for plain sailing to the big day

The Sheene MillThe Sheene Mill

Show & tell

‘Don’t go to a meeting with a potential wedding photographer empty-handed. Our first question for couples looking for a wedding photographer is ‘what kind of things do you like?’ It’s hard to tell a photographer what style you like – it’s much easier to show it. So make a collection of images from magazines and websites that catch your eye as a starting point to discussing your own wedding photography requirements.’

Ray Lowe Studios, Cheshunt

Dress prepared

‘Trying on wedding dresses is not glamorous – be prepared to leave your dignity at the door. As well as bearing in mind the comfort and practicality of your dress, and making sure your underwear choice can’t be seen through it (lace is pretty, but we often find nude spanx work best), here are my two key tips for dress buying: 1. The best time to buy your dress is nine to 12 months before the wedding. 2. Ninety-five per cent of dresses will need to be altered. Don’t be disheartened by a photo of you wearing a sample dress that doesn’t fit – it won’t look like that on the day.’

Sam Newby-Ricci, Heritage Brides, Hatfield House

Flowers in her hair

A compromise cake blending the traditional with a superhero theme.A compromise cake blending the traditional with a superhero theme.

‘For brides looking for a vintage, whimsical or bohemian theme for their wedding day, a floral headpiece is a sure way to get the look – for the bride, bridesmaids and flower girls. Do lots of research and speak to both your florist and hairstylist to make sure you find the right style. There are so many options – go bold with a huge, brightly-coloured piece or just add simple, delicate flowers to your hair. You can even use artificial flowers – they will be lighter, and will last forever.’

Anne Wells, Betty & Bear, St Albans

Make wedding stationery personal

‘Creating a wedding logo incorporating the bride and groom’s names or initials and wedding date not only makes wedding invitations unique but it can also be used on wedding-day stationery to create that personal touch and attention to detail. On the day itself, providing an order of the day is a great way of letting guests know where they need to be and at what time, whether it’s in the form of a printed canvas or individual cards that can be given out as guests arrive.’

Nicola Dawn Designs, Sawbridgeworth

A flower girl models a  floral headpiece designed by Anne Wells at Betty and BearA flower girl models a floral headpiece designed by Anne Wells at Betty and Bear

Getting co-ordinated

‘It’s important to establish a good rapport with the wedding co-ordinator at the chosen venue – you will be spending a lot of time liaising with them and it is vital that you feel they can turn your dream into reality. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how silly they seem. Finally, ask who will be looking after you on the day itself. The team that will be front of house are a big part of making your day everything you want it to be.’

Annette Swan, Brocket Hall, Welwyn

Staying true to you

‘When two people begin planning a wedding, it can very quickly go from one extreme to another. When starting out, think about what is important for the two of you and prioritise these things in a realistic order. If you stick to this list, it will prevent you from getting carried away and making hasty decisions when your head gets caught up in all the different ideas and advice that gets thrown your way.’

Emma Nankivell, The Sheene Mill, Melbourn

Keep mother of the bride fashion elegant but understated.Keep mother of the bride fashion elegant but understated.

The small print

‘Don’t forget to ask the wedding venue about the specific details of the package – are the cake knife and red carpet included? Are you being charged for outside space you won’t use (particularly in winter)? Do you have exclusive use of the venue all day? And are you expected to help with any of the clearing up at the end of the night? And make sure to ask for photos of previous events to see if the venue suits your needs.’

Peter Irving, The Forum Banqueting Suites

Cake & eat it

‘We always advise couples to bring as much information as possible to their design and tasting consultations and to bring pictures of cakes or different elements that they like. Inspiration can strike from any detail; the wedding invitation, a colour swatch or even the shape of the engagement ring. This year we’re predicting a rise in the popularity of ‘compromise cakes’. These incorporate different design ideas from the bride and groom in one fantastic cake. This can be as simple as both round and square tiers or something much more complex, such as one half superheroes and the other very feminine.’

Jacqueline Welch, Jac’s Cakes, Hatfield

Catering for all

‘Although the traditional wedding breakfast is still popular, don’t think you have to be restricted to the same old dining options. We’re seeing more couples choosing alternatives such as a cheese-board buffet or our garden party-themed dessert station. Lots of our summer weddings serve up a barbecue feast, which is both more informal and better value for money.’

Kerry Mavris, Ware Priory

For the mums

When your son or daughter is getting married you have a wonderful excuse to dress up. Have an open mind when trying on outfits – sometimes the right one may not appeal to you on the hanger. Always sit down to make sure the outfit is comfortable, choose a colour that suits you and complements the bridesmaids and the other mum, and pick a style that looks elegant and slightly understated. Good undergarments are also important as they alter the look of a garment. When it comes to hats, don’t go too big, and wear it on the crown not back of the head.

Sue Ross, Cream, Royston

A world of locations

‘Traditionally, marriage ceremonies have been conducted by a minister attached to a particular faith or by a registrar in a registry office. Nowadays, more and more couples prefer to have a more personal and bespoke ceremony prepared and conducted by a civil celebrant, who will go through in detail all their wedding ideas in an informal environment.

‘Once a couple have completed the legal requirements at a brief and relatively inexpensive statutory ceremony, they can have their main marriage ceremony later that day or perhaps within a few days or weeks. This means they have the freedom to choose from a much wider variety of locations; say a meadow, a beach, a wood or maybe a famous attraction. The place they first met, parents’ garden or even the local pub are often popular choices.

Charlotte Roscow, Herts, Beds & Bucks civil celebrant

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