** Disclosure – This post is a collaborative post however, aside from recommending you checkout this company’s fab website, this post is all my own and comes from the heart, no integrity lost”
This post is totally my opinion, we could go as far as to say my advice, on how to make sure your wedding is THE wedding. The wedding your friends and family talk about for years to come. How to make it special for you and your partner, whilst making it feel special for your guests.
To quote the fabulous and renowned children’s author Julia Donaldson from The Scarecrows Wedding “Let’s have a wedding, the best wedding yet, the wedding that no one will ever forget” Said Harry O Hay to Betty O Barley – The Scarecrows’ wedding By Julia Donaldson.
My own wedding was a blissful 9 years ago. I’d love to relieve it every day, although minus the expense of course. It was everything we hoped and dreamed it would be. Hubs and I spent 18 months planning our wedding together. We hoped we had set the scene for the ultimate day of happiness. Was it perfect? No. Did it matter? Not at all. It gave us stories to tell, and hurdles to overcome. Much like everyday married life.
I think there are many choices for the types of wedding you have in the 21st century. We were one of the first of our family and friends to break from tradition and to have a civil ceremony. Our day was held in one location which house a small chapel style building for the ceremony with some picturesque grounds for photos. Followed by the rest of the day in a converted barn. There was also a house on site for us and our immediate family to stay overnight in. Checkout The Reid Rooms who hosted our wedding.
On the whole, the majority of weddings I have been very fortunate to have attended have all followed a similar suit. On the most part they are civil ceremonies conducted in a converted barn or large house. The days events continue on location. Sometimes they are a church service with the rest of the days proceedings continued in a similar location experienced in hosting wedding receptions.
For most, this is THE DREAM, especially for the bride who. She has meticulously chosen the most expensive dress she will ever buy. All hopes are pinned on seeing the grooms face whilst she wants to feel like Beyoncé for one day. All eyes on them, the happy couple.
If you hadn’t guessed by now, I LOVE weddings! I jokingly call myself a wedding connoisseur. I’m yet to start gate crashing, but it has been known for me to offer to pay to attend as a guest. I genuinely love the fairytale. Every time I see a bride turn that corner the tears well in my eyes. I can literally feel everything she is going through. The nerves, the excitement, the love.
When planning your wedding it is important to consider what will make you as a couple happy. But ultimately I believe you need to focus on what will make your guests have a day to remember. I personally wouldn’t have enjoyed my day if my guests were not content. For us, we gave the comfort and requirements of our friends and family a LOT of consideration.
Research, research, research. I used to spend every lunch hour browsing the internet and bridal forums. Having masses of wedding info collated on a website such as Confetti, is a great starting point if you don’t know where to begin. I can totally recommend you attend wedding showers in the area you intend to marry. I believe this is why many still say it was one of the more ‘memorable’ and ‘brilliant’ weddings they have attended.
Little things like ensuring there was a quiet place in the evening for older and very young guests to sit and talk away from the dancing and loud music. Making sure the venue were able to provide cups of tea throughout the day, not just in the evening and after the meal. We had grandparents with no interest in drinking alcohol. Having a simple cup of tea was all they needed to feel relaxed and comfortable.
Often when you attend weddings you can find yourself presented with food that you wouldn’t usually eat. Wedding days can be a long day for all involved. Nobody wants to feel hungry because they didn’t like the pea soup or lamb cutlets. Plus you yourself are spending an awful lot of money, you want it to be money well spent. We chose to have classic bangers (sausage) and mash with gravy with a chocolate fudge cake for after. We had a second option but it was all received well.
Whilst we had waitress service for the starter and desert and table clearing, the main course was a served buffet. Guests were encouraged to go up for seconds to avoid waste. And we used our nectar points to buy our own wine for the tables.
We tried to save money by doing a lot of things ourselves. I made the invites, buttonholes, gift card box and table plan myself, along with a photo montage of myself and hubs through the years for our guests to have a giggle at.
We found a company who allowed us to custom design our own wedding rings, and it was cheaper than many of the rings we had seen in the shops. I had also found a lot of the modern wedding rings quite bulky and they looked out-of-place against my Nan’s vintage wedding ring.
During the wedding breakfast we made a CD to be played to fill any awkward silences. The CD consisted of songs that were “the song” for our parents, siblings and other people close to us or songs that meant something to us. Each person or couple received a copy of this CD with our image on as a wedding favour. With the idea when they listened back to the CD they would always think of our day.
As my parents are divorced I didn’t want to tread on any toes so I decided to have my nephew who I’m very close to, walk me down the aisle. One of my younger nephews at the time was the adorable ring bearer. My nephew who walked me down the aisle to “give me away” was only 12 at the time but he stood up at the wedding breakfast and did a speech. He was such a cutie and we will always have a close bond.
Hubs has 2 brothers and asked them both to share the role of best man. A job they did rather comically when it came to the speech and entertaining the evening guests with their lack of dancing skills.
Breaking tradition I also gave a speech along with my mum. Hubs got so emotional I ended up reading most of his speech, until I got to the part about how wonderful I was and he was able to compose himself to continue. He’s always been teetotal pretty much. But that day he was knocking back the champers in order to get through his speech. I joked that he’d only been married 5 minutes and already I had turned him to drink.
A few other ways we tried to break with tradition… Instead of a wedding cake we had a 9 tier stand covered with 150 individual cupcakes. Hubs drove himself and I arrived in a minibus driven by my mum containing other family members. As we were staying on site there wasn’t going to be anyone to witness our arrival and it was an added expense we didn’t need. I did my own makeup and I had planned to do my own hair with my Mums help. After a failed trial run resulting in me burning my arm, we managed to persuade our usual hairdressers to do a simple up do with only 3 days notice. Everyone in the salon thought it was hilarious I had intended to do my own wedding hair. I’m so glad I didn’t.
The first dance can feel a little nerve-wracking for many. I insisted hubs and I made up a brief routine in our kitchen a week prior to the event. Making it our own and avoiding an awkward shuffle round the middle of the dance floor. If you look very closely on the DVD you can see me saying “we are doing it, we’re doing it” and him saying “No,no,no,no”. But it was great fun and added to the romanticism of dancing away at home to OUR song, Stand by Me by Ben E King.
Which brings me to my next piece of advice. Videographers. Technology has come a long way in the last 9 years. People are now using drones to get amazing 360 shots from the sky at weddings. My cousins’ wedding had a card on the table with a special hashtag for sharing any piccies you took on Instagram. Photo booths are now available for hire with props. Some companies upload the images to Facebook so you no longer have to wait for processing. All these advancements I think are a welcome addition to your day.
I totally think the day flies by in such a cheek aching blur, that to have it captured on film to watch over and over or share with the grandkids is invaluable. I would love to have my Nan and Grandad’s wedding on DVD. Who doesn’t want to remember their wedding day!
My final thought on how to make your day a memorable one that is talked about for years is this:-
Don’t feel pressured to do what you think people expect. Make your wedding as big or as small as you would like and can afford. Get friends and family involved. Don’t forget to thank and appreciate your guests. I recently heard on the radio that on average guest spend just over £1000 attending a wedding. Share the love.
If you are thinking of planning your wedding, why not start by visiting Confetti.co.uk. Their website has so many useful links to help you choose a venue, dress and so, so much more.
I’d love to hear about your wedding day.
Our photographs were taken by Scott at The Edge Photography. Some of the images have been altered by myself for the sake of this post.