Brides Up North

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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Gimble_Wade_Wedding_240

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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Hold The Sticky Back Plastic! Dabbling In A DIY Do…

February 11th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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The three letters D-I-Y usually conjure up images of laborious and mind-numbing tasks sent to try our patience.  I know – as do my followers over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – as I’m in the middle of a huge home and office move whilst almost nine months pregnant. Eep!  But in world of weddings (which is almost always more stylish than the world of pregnancy!) a bit of do it yourself can be creative, inspirational and unique.

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I’m off to sand down some floorboards, so I’ll leave you in the safe – and still manicured – hands of our regular guest blogger and editor of Mosaic Brides, Rachel Parry.  Over to her, and I make no apologies for the epic Blue Peter nostalgia… I have a feeling I’ll be up to the eyeballs in sticky back plastic in a few year’s time…

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Images via welovebluepeter.blogspot.co.uk

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Rachel says:  It’s a desire for more personal affairs that has brought with it a surge in DIY elements being incorporated into weddings, meaning brides and grooms are taking a more hands-on approach. And it’s not just couples rolling up their sleeves; they’re also calling upon their family and friends to do the same.

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Usually the main reason for featuring DIY touches is to enable the bride and groom to inject their styling concepts and personalities into the big day. But the benefits don’t stop there. Asking family and friends to get involved and contribute towards the wedding day is a great way to make those closest feel an important part of the proceedings. And better still, DIY projects can help trim down the budget.

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Vintage style weddings in particular feature an abundance of home-made efforts and bring about a resurgence of wartime attitudes that if we all pull together we can get things done.

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Images via welovebluepeter.blogspot.co.uk

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For those choosing to take the DIY wedding route, planning and delegation are key. Tempting as it is, brides shouldn’t take on all projects themselves, but instead hand out some jobs to the groom as well as family and friends. Planning how long each DIY project will take and setting a deadline for its completion is a good way to ensure jobs aren’t rushed last minute. It’s also important to only ask people to do tasks you know they will feel comfortable with – your Nan might have made the perfect My Little Pony cake for your fifth birthday, but making a three tiered wedding cake complete with hundreds of handcrafted iced flowers is something else. Also remember to make projects fun and light hearted rather than a chore – invite your bridesmaids round for a cuppa and a catch up while you make bunting (perhaps saving the wine to toast its completion so the standard of what’s being produced doesn’t slip)…

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Images via welovebluepeter.blogspot.co.uk

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Here are some ways in which DIY elements can be incorporated into your wedding (none of which require Handy Andy and a sheet of MDF)…

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Stationery

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Save the date cards, invitations, order of service, menus, name places, table plans the list goes on. If you are creative or you have a friend/family member in the design industry you could make your own stationery for that extra personal touch. This gives you the opportunity to make both the design and wording totally unique. Remember stationery is the taster of the wedding you give to your guests and first impressions are everything. A personal invite will make the event all the more memorable.

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Décor

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DIY décor has become incredibly popular in weddings, particularly those that centre on vintage and village fete style themes. The possibilities are endless and it’s a great opportunity to really let the creative juices flow. Cute homemade bunting and elegant paper pom poms or paper chains can look stunning hung around the venue whilst old books, vintage crockery and antique glassware can be used to decorate tables.

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Trawling car boot sales and antique shops can lead to other great décor finds such as vintage table cloths, cake stands, frames, mirrors and even antique typewriters. Other quirky ideas include using jam jars as vases, candle holders, or even rustic style glasses. Vintage birdcages make striking centrepieces while old suit cases are ideal for collecting cards or displaying quirky table plans. Signage, pin wheels and confetti cones are also popular DIY projects.

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Favours

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Homemade preserves like jam, chutney or marmalade make attractive favours as do treats like cookies, cupcakes, chocolates or fudge. For a longer lasting DIY favour why not give guests a mixed CD of music from your wedding that will bring back memories of the day for years to come. Alternatively you could just choose to make the presentation box/bag in which to place favours such as sweets, charity pins, or miniature spirits.

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Cake/ Sweet Tables

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There is a growing trend in weddings for cake/dessert tables which can be a joint effort from guests. The Great British Bake Off has brought out the Mary Berry in all of us so challenge your guests to get baking a range of cakes and/or desserts which you can then display on the day before serving up as pudding.

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Sweet/candy buffets are also proving popular and can be easily put together by displaying colourful or retro sweets in traditional glass jars and attractive dishes.

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Images via welovebluepeter.blogspot.co.uk

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Don’t Touch!

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While there are plenty of areas to exercise creative talents when organising a wedding, it goes without saying that some things should be left to the experts. Unless you have a professional florist or dress maker in your family or close friendship group, don’t stress yourself out with DIY projects in these areas. Also don’t DIY when it comes to photography and/or videography. You might have an uncle with a brand new Nikon that he’s just dying to test out but these are your real memories of the day and you only have one shot at getting them right. I advise investing the money you save through DIY projects into these important areas (or perhaps splurge it on a fantastic pair of wedding shoes – just don’t tell the groom)!

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  – Images © via welovebluepeter.blogspot.co.uk

Rachel Parry is a regular guest writer for Brides Up North

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Make Mine A Monica: Why Hiring A Wedding Planner Works

January 16th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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The One With The Whistle

Image credit: fanforum.com

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Less Monica, more Rachel.

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Our gal Rachel, editor of Mosaic Brides and regular guest blogger here at Brides Up North explains why hiring a wedding planner should be at the top of your wedding wish list.  Headsets not included.

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Rachel says:  Think wedding planner and you might just picture a control crazed Monica from Friends when she took on the role for Phoebe’s big day – but fear not, none that I know of bark military style orders at brides and grooms whilst carrying a clipboard everywhere they go. Here I explain the benefits that a professional planner can bring without the use of a megaphone…

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It’s a common misconception that wedding planners are just for the rich and famous. In fact, their affordable rates and varied packages mean they can help couples from all walks of life to make their dream weddings become a reality.

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The duty of a planner is not to take over, but instead to help a couple achieve their wedding day vision whilst saving time and money, thus resulting in an enjoyable and stress-free celebration.

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The One With The Wedding Dresses

Image credit: weheartit.com 

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Professional planners can help with as little or as much of the planning as a couple desires, being involved for either a short period of time or throughout the entire planning process and during the big day itself.

Whilst your chosen venue may have an on-site co-ordinator thrown in as part of the package, their duties rarely go beyond assisting with the menu, décor, floor plan and perhaps providing a list of recommended suppliers.

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Meanwhile independent planners offer different packages to suit individual couples’ needs. For example an initial consultation is ideal for couples who want to be very hands on with the planning but perhaps are just a little overwhelmed. An early meeting with a planner will help them establish a budget and give them an idea of what will need to be done and when. Partial planning gives brides and grooms the option to cherry pick a number of services they require as such venue searches, creative styling or on the day co-ordination. A full planning service is usually a popular choice with couples who have little time to spare and would therefore prefer to let someone else to do the leg work for them.

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The One With The Headset

Image source: fanpop.com

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Before hiring a wedding planner it’s a good idea to meet with them so you can enquire about their experience and see how you get along. It’s important you feel at ease and trust them as your planner will need to get to know you and your wishes for the wedding so they achieve, or even surpass, your expectations.

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So how can a wedding planner help?

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Time Is Money

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Planners can do the groundwork of researching venues and suppliers which will save you endless hours. They can then set up meetings and appointments for you to attend to go over suggestions, present creative ideas, meet with suppliers and sample food/drink menus.

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Money Is Money

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Due to their contacts in the industry many planners can often score discounts with suppliers who they bring repeat business to. They also have knowledge of what things should cost so can shop around for best price and haggle on your behalf.

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Ask An Expert

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Planners can offer advice on subjects you might not have even thought about such as wedding laws, etiquette and insurance. Furthermore they have first hand experience with trusted suppliers/venues and therefore know those best suited to your requirements.

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Budgeting For Beginners

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Initially many couples don’t realise how the cost of a wedding can mount up or where hidden costs can occur. A planner’s knowledge means they can help you set a realistic budget and stick to it by keeping track of costs so there are no nasty surprises.

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Under Pressure

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Planners can handle the difficult/boring parts in the run up to the wedding leaving you more time to indulge in the fun stuff like dress shopping. On the day itself co-ordination and styling set-up services offered by planners will ensure all runs smoothly and looks perfect meaning no added pressure on the bride and groom or any of their guests.

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The One With The Panic Attack

Image credit: Comedy Central

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Gloves Off

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As an independent third party who has a wealth of experience in weddings, a planner can help settle disputes between the bride and groom and or family/friends by offering impartial, expert advice to reach the best solution.

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Creative Concepts

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For those who are struggling for inspiration, or who have an idea but aren’t sure how to make it a reality, planners can suggest and source everything from décor and chair covers to table linen and stationery and ensure it all corresponds.

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Brides Abroad

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A planner is particularly useful for those getting married overseas especially if the couple aren’t familiar with their chosen destination. There are planners who specialise in certain destinations and therefore are totally clued up on the country’s wedding laws and venue options and also boast a list of trusted suppliers.

In short professional planners are the answer to a wedding fairy godmother offering priceless expert knowledge, professionalism, creativeness, guidance, stress relief and perhaps even friendship.

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Check out the Brides Up North wedding planners’ page in our directory to find help in your area.

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  – Images © 2013 as credited

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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And Action! Choosing Your Wedding Videographer

January 4th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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You’re nearly there… just Friday to go and then it’s the weekend.  Thank goodness.  Maybe it’s the weight of all those resolutions on our shoulders – or perhaps the weight of that rock sparkling on your finger – but why does the first week back at work after Christmas always feel like such a marathon (especially when there is wed-min and dress shopping to be done)?!

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Speaking of wedmin, our regular guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides knows just how to handle all of that - and, handily, is here to offer her expert advice to you too.  After a little Christmas break she is back at her best with her two cents on choosing a wedding videographer.  Get ready for your close up. 

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And action…

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Rachel says:  It may sound a little sad coming from a single girl but I’ve become totally obsessed with wedding videos.

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Holly & Toan from hdmoments.com on Vimeo

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At one time the suggestion of a wedding videographer sent shivers down my spine as thoughts of shaky home video productions sprung to mind but having recently taken the time to explore the wonderful world of wedding videos I can now honestly say most productions give me shivers of a different kind.

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Dispelling thoughts of cringe-a-minute amateur footage, professional videographers produce seamless, high quality and personal productions which reflect the individuality of a couple as well as the true beauty and emotion of their wedding (reader warning: such productions should be watched only when armed with a box of tissues).

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The Brides Up North Yorkshire Tweet Up 2012 by the amazing Steven at Forever Film 

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Granted a good videographer comes at a price but also provides a stunning solution to the common complaint of brides and grooms that the day passes too quickly and they miss out on important elements as they can’t be in two places at once.

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While photographers are amazing at capturing wedding day magic as a timeless set of stills (and I wouldn’t swap that for the World!), videographers can go beyond static images. They capture the essence of a wedding day through both visual and audio footage to give couples, as well as their friends and family, the opportunity to look at their wedding from a different perspective and relive the special day time and time again.

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Research, research and a little bit more research is the best way to find a videographer that is right for you and your wedding. Get online and watch lots of show reels/example videos on lots of different videographers’ websites to get an idea of the talent that’s out there and what they can offer.  Ask yourself:

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What style is the wedding video shot in?

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Generally wedding videos are shot in one of two styles; cinematic and documentary. Cinematic is more posed and edited for dramatic effect and mood whilst documentary is a fly-on-the- wall style, simply capturing the day as it unfolds. While some professionals will stick to just one style others will use a combination of the two.

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Tiffany & TJ – From New York to Ireland from Deneemotion Wedding Cinema on Vimeo

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How good is the quality?

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Watching example videos will give you an idea of the quality a videographer’s work and the equipment they use. Those who use high quality equipment should be less intrusive on the day and will produce a polished final product with clear picture, good lighting, complementary colour and crisp sound.

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How much of the day is captured?

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Most couples request a videographer’s services all day to document the wedding in full, focusing on the main events as well as those all important little touches. Alternatively some couples may be looking for a videographer to capture just specific parts of the day in full such as the vows and the speeches.

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Anjali & Ben – Loch Ness Wedding from Deneemotion Wedding Cinema on Vimeo

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How well has the production been edited?

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Experienced wedding videographers will use a variety of professional techniques when editing in order to deliver a final production that flows like a feature film. Watching examples of their work will give you an idea of their capabilities. Look at how well one scene moves to another, are sound bites from the day included or is the footage just set to music? Is the music complementary or overbearing/distracting? Are any special effects?

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How do they work on the wedding day?

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Ask what equipment they will be using on the day and if/how it will interfere with the wedding. Most professionals use small unobtrusive, high-tech digital cameras that are lightweight, mobile and don’t require extra lighting meaning minimal disruptions to the proceedings. You might also want to enquire how many cameras will be used – while one is not generally enough to capture all the action, more than three might look like a Hollywood film set.

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Amy & Tim – Highlights from Forever Film on Vimeo

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What do you get for your money?

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Just like photographers, videographers offer a variety of packages to suit different budgets. Look at what’s included in each package such as how many copies of the film you will receive and in what format. Most include an edited feature film showing the best parts of the day – as an added bonus some will also include the ceremony and speeches in full. Further extras can include a wedding trailer showing a snapshot of the big day and/or an engagement shoot where a couple are interviewed prior to the wedding about their relationship and what they love about each other which is then edited into the main wedding production.

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Michelle + Leo from hdmoments.com on Vimeo

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That’s a wrap!

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  – Videos © 2013 as credited

Rachel is a regular guest blogger for Brides Up North,  HD Moments, Deneemotion & Forever Film are all Brides Up North Featured Suppliers, but this is not a sponsored post

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

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Very Significant Other: Getting Your Fiancé Involved

December 17th, 2012 | Julia Braime

David Lawson Studios

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Let’s get Christmas week off to an all-inclusive start with some advice from our regular guest blogger the lovely Rachel of Mosaic Brides about how you can get your other half involved in the wedding planning process.  And this isn’t just about getting the boys in order either, as this advice can apply to any wayward fiancé on either side of the partnership.  Get ‘em involved, people!  Using images from my own wedding (a groom who did as he was told FYI!) by David Lawson Studios

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Rachel says: For most of us girls an engagement ring isn’t necessary to start planning our big day, it simply signals a time to put our thoughts into action.  Long before we meet Mr or Mrs Right we spend time swooning over wedding dresses, deciding who our bridesmaids will be and how we will dress them – we even think about the flavour of the sponge and filling for our three-tier wedding cake (mine’s a simple iced white cake with vanilla, lemon and chocolate layers, decorated with fresh vintage style flowers)!

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By contrast our significant other may not have given any consideration to their wedding day, and for some even getting down on one knee does not prompt such thoughts.  As a result it’s sometimes the case that a bride can feel alone during the planning process when her partner takes a back seat and utters those three frustrating words "I don’t mind". But with many couples ditching traditional weddings in favour of more personal affairs, it’s never been more important that input comes from both sides to achieve a day that’s a reflection of both of you. 

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David Lawson Studios

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So, if your husband or wife-to-be is under the impression that their duties end at the proposal, suit hire and picking a best man or woman who will plan them a send off to rival The Hangover, I suggest the following…

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In the beginning

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Sit down and talk. From the very start make clear to your fiancé that you want them involved with planning the wedding and the ways in which they can help.

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Next, discuss your opinions on the main areas like destinations, venues, styling, size of the wedding, food, entertainment and, of course, the budget. To encourage your partner to come up with their own ideas, or to prevent them just going along with what you say, try writing down your ideas separately and then coming back together to discuss your thoughts. While you might have the same ideas on some things other areas might need compromise – it’s no good asking for their opinion and then ignoring it.

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David Lawson Studios

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Work as a team

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Part of being in a relationship is working as a team, a quality that can be incredibly useful when planning a wedding.

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Discuss which elements you can do together such as attending wedding fairs and venue visits then look at your strengths and divide some of the other jobs between you.  For example, if one of you is particularly creative then take the lead in styling the venue or designing invitations, if the other is good at research they can spend time looking up venues, entertainment, transport and so on. 

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It also makes sense to let the person who is good with numbers handle the budget while the more ballsy of the two can take charge when it comes to haggling.

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David Lawson Studios

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Talent spotting

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Don’t be offended if your partner doesn’t take an interest in every little thing.  It may well be the case that they don’t mind (or even care) which flowers, favours or bridesmaid dresses you have in mind but this provides the perfect opportunity to involve other relatives and friends. Meanwhile your fiancé can take some time out with their side of the bridal party to pick their wedding attire.

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Also allocate your other half jobs that you know will spike their interest. So if they love music leave them to look for a band or to plan the play list, if they fancy themself as the next Jamie Oliver ask them to consider food options or if they usually organise your annual holiday let them arrange a dream honeymoon.

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David Lawson Studios

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Keep calm and carry on

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If despite your best efforts you feel that your husband or wife-to-be is still not taking an interest talk to them – communication is key in a relationship and is absolutely essential when it comes to planning a wedding.

Let your other half know that you want them to be involved and explain the ways in which you can inject elements of your personalities into the day as this might help to engage them.  Equally don’t get carried away and leave your partner out – the day belongs to both of you.

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There is no doubt that planning a wedding is a stressful and demanding task that can lead to arguments but it should also be a time you enjoy together.  To avoid fall outs don’t talk wedding all the time. Try to have a night or two where discussing weddings is strictly off limits, giving you both a break and a chance to spend quality time with one another.

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Finally and most importantly don’t lose sight of the reasons why you are actually getting married, beyond the paper pompoms and that three tired cake there should be a whole lot of love.

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  – Images © 2012 David Lawson Studios

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

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

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Eeny Meeny Miny Moe… Dealing With Guest List Stress

November 21st, 2012 | Julia Braime

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If you’re any way into your wedding planning and you’ve escaped an argument over the guest list, you’re doing damn well.

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For those of us who haven’t escaped the stress of the plus-one pleas, read on, our regular guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides is back with some more of her words of wisdom. 

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Keep Calm Its Just A Guest List

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Rachel says:  For many wedding couples putting together the guest list is the most stressful part of the planning process.  The task goes far beyond simply drawing up a list of the friends and relatives you want present to share your special day as issues such as plus ones, inviting children and the parents’ guest lists come into play.

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In the early stages it’s important to look carefully at your venue(s) and budget; how many guests does the venue allow and how far will your budget stretch when everything including food, drink and favours are taken into account?

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Couples should also think about the type of ceremony they want; while some will prefer to keep things simple with a small and intimate affair, others will want to make the most of their moment in the limelight by filling the church to the rafters.

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Once these initial discussions have taken place it’s a good idea to draw up a rough guest list to give you an idea of numbers – but be warned, along the way you are likely to face the following dilemmas:

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Pushy Parents

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A topic I have discussed in a previous blog post and an area that should be handled with care.

This is probably where most disagreements over the guest list will occur as parents can have their own ideas on who should be invited to the wedding and it might not correlate with your own.

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While parents can be helpful in drawing up the guest list they can also get carried away, keen to invite as many people as possible to witness the momentous occasion. This can often lead to parents insisting distant relatives and friends of theirs make the list – people who neither you nor your fiancé may have ever met.

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Reining them in can be difficult especially if they’re footing some, or all, of the bill. Some parents have even been known to say they will pay for the additional guests they want to invite making it twice as hard to say no.

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Make exceptions where possible to avoid family fall-outs ahead of the wedding but also don’t be afraid to put your foot down if their plans start to impact on your own. For example, if the numbers would tip you over your venue’s capacity, if you would have to leave out your close friends to make way for their guests and if the numbers would disrupt the desired atmosphere for the day.

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At this point you may have to sit parents down and explain that such large numbers would take away the intimacy of the day and that you and your fiancé would feel awkward having to spend your special day making pleasantries with people who you don’t know.

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Friends vs Family

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Another tricky area when it comes to deciding on numbers.

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For some, weddings are all about the joining of two families and therefore relatives should make up the majority of the guest list. Meanwhile for others a wedding is one big party making lots of friends an essential ingredient.

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To help decide on the family/friend ratio look at where you can draw a line in the family tree to allow space for mates. In other words, after immediate family how far do you go – aunts and uncles? Cousins? Great aunts and uncle? Second cousins?

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This is the best way to cut off invites without causing offence or family rifts as you can provide a logical explanation for your actions.

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Lets Give Up & Go Down The Pub

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Children

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Another sensitive area I have visited on the blog before.

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In short, child invites can cause the guest list to rocket so again consider your venue capacity, budget and the type of ceremony you will be having before deciding on whether to invite children or not, and if so, who?

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Plus Ones

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Weddings are expensive and every extra body can add more than £100 to the bill, so choose who you allow plus ones to with care.  While couples are under no obligation to grant guests plus ones there are certain situations where many choose to do so.

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For example invitations are often extended to partners of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, especially for the evening reception, as a thank you for all their hard work in the run up to and during the big day.

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Most couples also choose to invite a guest’s long term partner especially those who are engaged/married or living together. Alternatively some couples may prefer to save their plus one places for guests’ partners who they have actually met. In either of these cases the invite would normally have both guests’ name on it.

Meanwhile for those generous enough to allow their single friends to bring a date the invite would state the friend’s name ‘and guest’.

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Good luck!

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How have you dealt with guest list issues?  Any tips for the rest of us?

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2012 created using Keep Calm-o-matic, words by Rachel Parry

This is not a sponsored post

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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