Charlotte Balbier

Evening Do… Or Evening Don’t?

September 27th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Jonny Draper Photography

Our regular guest blogger Rachel – editor of Mosaic Brides – is giving me the morning off, as she takes control of these pretty pages to debate the pros and cons of a wedding at sundown.  No more worries about getting to the church on time: if you’re going to be fashionably late, why not make it official?!  Over to Rachel. 

With images by Jonny Draper Photography 

Jonny Draper Photography

Rachel says:  As marriage laws have been relaxed over the years couples have been given much more say over when and where they tie the knot.  One of the most recent changes to marriage laws means ceremonies can now be conducted outside the traditional hours of 8am to 6pm so couples can get married at any time of day or night – depending on the venue, of course.

It seems crazy that it’s taken this long for the rule to be relaxed considering it was initially introduced in 1837 to stop people marrying the wrong partner in the dark before the days of electricity (awkward).

The change is seen as a good thing for those looking to save money on their wedding day as it gives them the option to hold their celebrations in the evening, which means less expenditure on food, drink, entertainment and venue hire.

Jonny Draper Photography

But, as the law was only changed in England and Wales last year (there are no restriction on the hours of weddings in Scotland) the difficulty may be finding a venue that provides the option of an evening wedding, as most would prefer couples to hire the facilities for the majority of the day and evening.

Before deciding on whether or not to say ‘I do’ at dusk it’s worth taking a look at the pros and cons in a little more detail.

Jonny Draper Photography

Pros

Save – As previously mentioned the biggest plus point is considered to be the savings couples can make by holding their celebrations in the evening. So instead of forking out for a champagne and canapés reception plus a main wedding breakfast and evening meal, couples should be able to get away with feeding their guests just the one time. Similarly you will only require entertainment for the evening and the venue hire should be less for the amount of hours you require it for.

Relax – A later ceremony means no rushing around during the day. There will be plenty of time to decorate the venue, take receipt of flowers, cakes etc and make those final checks ahead of the ceremony. This also means more time for the bride and her maids to get ready and make the most of the venue’s facilities (halleluiah).

Personal preference – If you’re not marrying during traditional hours there’s certainly no need to stick to all the formalities. For example after the ceremony you could enjoy a cocktail hour (a trend particularly popular in America) without the fear that your guests will crash and burn before the party really gets started. Also instead of a formal sit down meal you could have street style food or a buffet so guests can mingle and the disco/live entertainment can get underway. If you are a real foodie however, the money you save on only needing to feed your guests once can be pooled on the main meal so you can really go to town and treat your guests to something special.

No lulls – We’ve all been to a wedding where we’ve found ourselves stood around with nothing to do but listen to the sound of our stomachs rumbling. A later wedding means less time to fit things in and so the proceedings should move swiftly from one part of the celebrations to the next without guests becoming bored.

Setting the scene – An evening wedding can make for a more atmospheric and romantic occasion with low lighting and twinkling fairy lights and candles. Creative couples can go all out on a decedent theme to suit the mood such as Great Gatsby with sparkling décor, elegant lighting and glamorous attire.

Grateful guests – A later time of arrival means guests can travel to the venue on the wedding day so those coming from further afield don’t need to book more than one night’s accommodation. An evening wedding, particularly on week days, can also mean that guests don’t have to take a full day off work.

Jonny Draper Photography

Cons

Blink and you’ve missed it – Most couples are put off the idea of an evening wedding simply because they’re told a wedding goes too quickly so they should make the most of it with a full day of celebrations.

Nerves – Many brides, grooms and those that will be making a speech can suffer terrible nerves on the wedding day awaiting their moment in the spotlight. A later wedding means a longer wait and more time for nerves to build.

Venue – As previously mentioned finding a venue for an evening wedding can be tricky as many places will prefer couples to hire the facilities for the day and evening. Also local authorities and religious groups aren’t forced to conduct marriages outside the traditional hours, so finding someone to conduct the legal part could also prove challenging.

Photography – Getting married later in the day, and particularly in the winter, means less natural light for photographs. Those getting married at venues with gorgeous grounds and stunning views will more than likely want to use them as backdrops for wonderful wedding pictures which require daylight. Those who do choose to hold evening celebrations should look for a photographer who has some great night time shots in their portfolio to ensure they still get some standout snaps.

Jonny Draper Photography

One area of the law that remains however is that 15 days advance notice is required for weddings – so they’ll be no drunken Ross and Rachel style wedding ceremonies taking place in England just yet!

 

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Jonny Draper Photography

Rachel Parry is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Milk Maids: Would You Dress Your Wedding Party In White?

August 15th, 2013 | Julia Braime

(c) J Davies Photography

Image © J Davies Photography

Last time you met, she wanted you to wear colour on your wedding day – and now she wants you to put your bridesmaids in white!  Our regular guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides keeps on arguing the case for turning the tables on traditional bridal fashion.  Over to you, Rach!

Rachel says: In my last Brides Up North feature I asked if brides-to-be dare to deviate from a traditionally white wedding by wearing a coloured dress. This time I’m switching things around to discuss if it’s acceptable to dress bridesmaids in white – or should the pure hue be reserved for brides only?

While I often to-and-fro over what colours my maids will wear (when that day finally arrives) white has never cropped up, not even on my maybe list. But having recently noted a rise in the number of brides dressing their main girls in white or ivory, I’m finally starting to warm to the idea.

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Sound The Bugles! The Venue Hunt Has Commenced…

May 27th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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And you thought I was going to ease you back in gently after the bank holiday break, eh?  Incorrect.

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This afternoon, we are going hard (or going home) and getting one big thing ticked off that to-do list – your wedding venue.  Dropping by to talk you through it is our regular guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides.  Notepads – and cheque books – at the ready people… 

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DINE LEAFLET

Allerton Castle, North Yorkshire by Chris Chambers Photography

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Rachel says:  Last week I received a picture message of a sparkly diamond on the ring finger of a pretty manicured hand. I knew without even looking at the sender’s name that the perfectly polished hand belonged to my beautician friend Jo. Sure enough her boyfriend James had whisked her away to a romantic hotel in North Yorkshire where he popped the question in a plush roll top bath, complete with bubbles and fizz.

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When meeting up with Jo this week to hear more about the proposal (I’m a sucker for a soppy engagement story) I handed her a useful engagement pressie rather than the expected bottle of champagne. It was a cute wedding planner book from Marks & Spencer titled ‘Lots of Lovely Ideas For A Very Big Day’ with dedicated areas for the guest list, contacts, the budget and checklists as well as pages to record wardrobe, reception and ceremony details. So where to begin?

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For Jo and many others it’s the venue. This is often the biggest expense and one of the most important factors of a wedding as it sets the scene for the big day. Therefore it’s well worth researching all the fantastic venues available (particularly in the North, of course) to ensure you find one that ticks all the boxes.

Hotels remain a top choice, often favoured for their package deals and on site facilities, but changes in the law and the amazing creativity of suppliers have made the previously impossible, possible when it comes to dream wedding venues.

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So what are the options beyond the church in the UK and what should you take into consideration when doing your research?

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Something Old

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We are fortunate to have many stunning historic venues in the UK that are licensed for civil ceremonies. Options include castles, country houses, listed halls and stately homes. Such venues tend to ooze character and charm meaning little décor is required which can make a big saving. Their rooms are often of large proportions providing plenty of space for big guest numbers though those planning more modest celebrations should not be put off as smaller, more intimate rooms are often available.

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Meredith & at Denton Hall in West Yorkshire (see their full celebration by clicking here) image by Gary Micklethwaite

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Perfectly Packaged

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Most hotels or independent venues hold a civil license giving couple’s the straightforward option of having their celebrations all in one place which can eliminate travel costs from the budget altogether. It’s important to ask what’s included in the price such as room hire, the registrar and the wedding breakfast, also ask if there is a minimum guest requirement and how prices vary on different days of the week and throughout the year. To make the plans even more manageable the hotel may well have a list of recommended suppliers that you can use which can save you both time and money. Be sure to enquire about exclusivity – if you want the place to yourselves there can be an additional charge.

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Rise Hall, East Yorkshire by Peter Boyd Photography

Rise Hall, East Yorkshire by Peter Boyd Photography 

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Blank Canvas

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Marquees and tepees continue to rise in popularity with couples won over by the prospect of having a plain backdrop to go to town on for a unique and stylish celebration. While you can’t legally get married in marquee or tipi as it’s not a permanent structure, you can throw a flippin’ good party in one afterwards. The styling possibilities are endless from cute bunting and bundles of hay to natural blooms and twinkly fairy lights. Some also offer the option to create individual areas for dancing, dining and chilling, complete with cosy fur throws and roaring fires. Though a marquee or tepee might seem a cheaper option, additional costs such as the fee to plant it on someone’s land and essentials such as toilets, heating and electricity can see the price creep up.

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John Steel Photography for Totally Tipi & Horti-couture

John Steel Photography for Totally Tipi & Horti-couture

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Let’s Go Outside

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My friend Jo has her heart set on a relaxed outdoor wedding with lots of live music. While some venues do have gazebos, band-stands and the like licensed four outdoor weddings, those craving a more adventurous or quirky backdrop may still be able to secure their dream setting by doing the legal ‘I do’ bit separate. This means simply booking into the registry office prior to the outdoor celebrations for the legal formalities which can take as little as 20 minutes. A celebrant can then conduct a more personal ceremony in front of your guests at your chosen outdoor wedding setting whether it’s on the beach, a woodland location or amongst the ruins of a castle.

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Alnwick Garden

The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland

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Dare To Be Different

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Changes in legislation have opened up the doorways to many unusual settings for couples to tie the knot in. Out of the ordinary options include museums, theatres, restaurants, sporting venues, private residences and art galleries.

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Happy hunting!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as credited

Rachel Parry is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Stress. Less.

April 15th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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With a punishing blog schedule, inbox full of enquiries (556 as of 9am this morning, and working on it) and our largest Yorkshire show to date coming up this weekend, those two little words in today’s blog post title couldn’t be more timely.  Whether it’s work or wedding planning that’s getting your knickers in a twist, let’s all take a deep breath and just chill out

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Sure, it’s a very busy week in the Brides Up North office, but we wouldn’t have it any other way, and we absolutely love what we do – raising awareness of regional wedding industry excellence both on and offline, and forging ahead with the Northern revolution! 

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And what if you are stressed out by your wedding planning?  Well, short of calling the whole thing off – and you don’t want to do that, do you? – remember why you are doing it (you know, getting to marry the person you love!) and take our guest blogger Rachel’s tips to heart. 

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With Rachel at the helm, I think the rest of the team can have the afternoon off… or at least make a good dent in that inbox! 

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Kat Timmins Photography for Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Rachel says:  I’ve seen a bridezilla in action and it’s not a pretty sight. After months of careful planning, one tiny detail can cause a bride-to-be to lose her composure, bringing on a meltdown of epic proportions. I recall one bride on the morning of her wedding sending her bridesmaids out to buy new shoes just hours before the ceremony because they’d deviated slightly from the brief.

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“I said flats, not kitten heels,” she roared. But just a short time later she and all her bridesmaids were dancing barefoot to Lionel Richie and all seemed forgotten. As I looked at the pile of disregarded shoes I had to question if it had been worth stressing herself out so much and upsetting several friends in the process (not to mention forcing them to spend money on a second pair of shoes).

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There is no doubt that planning a wedding will cause the stress levels to fluctuate with so many decisions to make, a budget to handle and endless guests to try to please – but to avoid the groom doing a runner before the big day even arrives, there are times when hot-headed brides need to take a step back and question what really matters.

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This point is often reinforced by brides’ tips to others at the end of real wedding blog posts, with most comments along the lines of: “Don’t stress about the small details”, “Enjoy the planning”, “Things can go wrong but remember what’s important.”

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Of course you want things to be perfect, but as the ladies who made it down the aisle will vouch, the important part of the day is marrying the person you love surrounded by those who mean the most to you.

So in an attempt to help other brides-to-be avoid a pre-wedding meltdown over a pair of pesky kitten heels I’ve compiled a list of ways to lessen the stress in the run up to the big day…

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Kat Timmins Photography for Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Be organised

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From the off-set plan a realistic budget and do your best to stick to it, keeping track of your expenditure as you go. Also draw-up a check list of things you need to do and when you need to do them. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete tasks and tick your accomplishments off along the way. Also, don’t put off the things you’re not looking forward to, instead get them out of the way first so you can enjoy the fun parts in the run up to the wedding.

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Be realistic

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Remember the reason you’re getting married in the first place (apart from the pretty dress) and don’t put pressure on yourself to achieve the impossible. Accept that you can’t please everyone but you can throw a ruddy good celebration that you and your guests will remember for years to come. Also don’t get competitive, your wedding should be a reflection of you and your fiancée and what the two of you want rather than trying to out-do another couple.

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Delegate

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Get your friends and family involved with the planning by giving them jobs. This will lift some of the pressure off your shoulders whilst giving them a chance to make a memorable contribution to your big day. Consider hiring a wedding planner to assist with all or part of the planning to lessen the pressure. For those who don’t hire a planner, liaise closely with the venue wedding co-ordinator so staff know what’s expected of them.

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Trust in your decisions

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If the planning process starts to feel like an overwhelming chore you can easily become negative and start to doubt decisions you’ve already made . As the saying goes ‘keep calm and carry on’. Believe in your original choices as scrapping plans late on will cause added stress.

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Kat Timmins Photography for Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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While feeling in control and being organised will go some way to reducing stress it’s also important not to become completely consumed with the planning by taking some time out. Escaping the check-list every so often can make a huge difference leaving brides-to-be feeling refreshed, confident and excited when proceeding with their plans. When researching the best ways for brides to take a breather I came across some rather interesting suggestions including flying a kite, building a sandcastle and rearranging furniture but I’ve gone for options that centre more around friends, love and laughter (oh and a generous measure of Pinot).

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Date night

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Once-a-week spend some quality time with your fiancée when the w-word is strictly off limits. Whether you choose to cook a romantic meal at home, take a trip to the cinema or book a night in a hotel be sure to remind each other why you first fell in love.

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Time with the girls

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While your friends will undoubtedly want to know how the wedding plans are going, don’t talk obsessively about it for hours on end. Instead, give them a quick update then enjoy finding out what’s new with them while indulging in a girly pastime.

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Time for yourself

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Don’t allow the planning to take over your life, still make time for the things you enjoy doing like going to the gym, having a manicure, loosing yourself in a good book or taking a relaxing bubble bath.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Karen McGowran/ Kat Timmins Photography

Rachel Parry of Mosaic Brides is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Are You Sitting Comfortably..? Tackling The Seating Plan!

March 13th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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No Seating Plan

Always an easy option!  Image sourced via Zoe Lewis via Pinterest

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Ahh, now this is a task that I remember from my own wedding.  It took hours and at the end of it all, I still couldn’t be 100% sure that everyone had a seat… Luckily, it all worked out in the end, and yours will too.  Just try to resist the urge to play matchmaker or seek revenge, and with our regular guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides tips you’ll find the perfect place for everyone. 

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Rachel says: Sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

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The task of planning a wedding sees a bride and groom go through many different emotions, ranging from excitement and happiness, right through to anxiety and despair.

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Drawing up the dreaded seating plan usually stirs up the latter emotions causing a couple to endure sleepless nights and countless arguments as they debate where best to place guests in order to avoid family feuds, disapproving looks and Pinot Grigio-fuelled outbursts.

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The wedding breakfast is a main feature of the big day and a carefully constructed seating plan can be key to achieving the desired atmosphere. While there is no right or wrong way to approach this tedious task, the following might help…

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First things first…

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It might be the job you’re dreading most but don’t keep putting it off. In the first instance talk to the wedding coordinator at your chosen venue to find out what size and shape tables you will have for your celebration and how best to arrange them to accommodate your guests. From here you can set to work on a draft seating plan which you can then amend at a later date when you know exactly who will be attending. To save time (and perhaps an entire rainforest) it’s a good idea to draw up a seating plan on a computer rather than by hand, that way if you make a mistake you don’t have to draw it all out again. Better still, there are handy seating plan tools available online which can make the job a whole lot easier by allowing you to make changes at the click of a button and amend right up until the last minute.

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Taking Centre Stage…

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Seating plans usually begin with the top table and deciding whether or not to have one. For those who want to stick to tradition the top table is usually made up of eight places; the bride and groom, flanked by the bride’s parents, then the groom’s parents, followed by the best man and chief bridesmaid. For those with divorced parents who have remarried the top table may need extending a little. Alternatively to avoid seating parents in close proximity who do not see eye-to-eye, you could have a top table made up of the bridesmaids and groomsmen leaving parents to join family tables.

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Another option is to have a ‘sweet heart’ table just for the bride and groom which will allow you to spend some precious time together as husband and wife during the reception. Couples with children may want to seat them at the sweet heart table too.  Meanwhile other brides and grooms have been known to invite certain guests to join them at their table for certain courses.

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Shake things up…

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Most couples ask themselves the question of whether to mix guests up or to keep family and friend groups confine to separate tables.

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The aim of many couples is to create an enjoyable atmosphere by seating guests where they will feel most comfortable and where conversation will flow freely. This usually means putting those of similar ages with common interests together. So beyond close family and friends, who are generally seated closet to the top table, there might be tables of extended family, family friends, childhood friends, university friends and colleagues.

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Those who do want to mix things up will need to decide how best to do it. Perhaps you could take a couple of guests from each of the different groups and place them on a table together with a bridesmaid or groomsman acting as ‘host’. There is also the option of drawing up different seating plans for different courses so guests move tables and mingle with others (though this one sounds like a recipe for indigestion). 

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Be clear…

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In order to help things run smoothly on the day clearly display a seating plan in the entrance to the reception room directing guests to their allocated places. Also be sure to exhibit table names/numbers clearly and use place cards with first and surnames to avoid confusion.

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Turn the tables…

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For some grabbing a seat scenarios should only be experienced on Ryanair flights but for others it’s seen as a simple solution to the seating plan headache – take inspiration from the image at the head of this feature and let your guests decide where to sit. While this approach is highly likely to cause chaos in formal dining settings it can work well for more relaxed wedding breakfasts such as barbecue buffets and outdoor picnics.

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And remember – you can only do so much to encourage a good atmosphere – the rest is down to your guests.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2013 Zoe Lewis via Pinterest 

Rachel Parry is editor of Mosaic Brides and a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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