Bar / Drinks Suppliers
Bridal Wear
Bridal Suite
Car Hire
Caricature Artists
Casino Hire
Chair Covers / Linen
Children's Entertainers
Chimney Sweep (Lucky)
Chocolate Fountains
Coach / Mini-bus Hire
Craft Supplies
Dance Choreography
Diet Club / Dieting
Discos / DJs
Dress Cleaning / Storage
Engagement - Party
Event Photography
Fairs / Fayres
Florists / Flowers
Flower Preservation
Gents Wedding Outfitters
Gift Lists
Health / Fitness
Hen Night / Weekend
Hog Roasts
Horse & Carriage
Ice Sculptures
Ladies Formal Wear
Lighting Hire
Men's Formal Wear
Mobile Creche
Mother of the Bride Outfitters
Party Hire
Personalised Items
Photo Albums
Photo Booths
Reception Venues
Speeches / Coaching
Stag Night / Weekend
Sweet Shops
Tanning Studio
Toilet Hire
Travel Agents
Venue Decoration
Waiting Staff
Wedding Licence
Wedding Organiser / Planner
Wedding Venues
White Doves

Essex Wedding Features


Mistakes to Avoid

and Top Tips when

Planning your Wedding


Wedding Budget


Its easy to get ‘caught up in the moment’ and find your wedding running away with you and the costs spiralling.  It’s probably not a good idea to start off married life paying off a huge debt for your wedding. 

If you do not mention the word “wedding”, you may find that some

things are cheaper.

Wedding magazines can offer great inspiration but it’s easy to get carried away and discover that you ‘must have’ a lot of extras (that you hadn’t even thought about or, with hindsight, really want).   This can have a huge impact on your wedding costs.

Try to get a balance in terms of what you spend in each area for your wedding.  Decide what the ‘deal breakers’ are for you i.e. what are the ‘must haves’ and the ‘can do withouts’.  It could be fabulous flowers and food.  It could be all about the evening party.  Some couples feel that its ‘their day’ and they should have things entirely their way; others may feel that the most important thing is their guests’ enjoyment.  For the majority it is a complete mix of these.

Set a realistic budget and stick to it. 

A village hall or function room within a pub will be cheaper to hire than a wedding venue.  Expect to pay a premium for ‘exclusive use’.

You may wish to pay for all the drinks throughout the day and evening but this could mean that you have to significantly cut back on other areas which may affect enjoyment of your special day.


To make sure your wedding is memorable (for all the right reasons) make sure there is a balance to your budget. 


Decorating your dream venue is one area that can significantly affect your budget.  If you have found a ‘blank canvas’ you may feel you need to spend more on the decorating budget than on a reception room which is ornately decorated and needs little to be enhanced to fit in with your theme. 


Be realistic, lots of decoration will take time and may result in needing to pay extra to hire the venue for longer. 


Choosing flowers that are ‘in season’ will help to keep costs down.  Your florist will be the best person to advise you.  If you are having flowers to decorate your wedding ceremony/service, by arranging for these to be transported to your wedding reception venue you will cut down on the need for additional floral arrangements.


You may want chair covers or you need to cover the chairs provided by the venue as they don’t fit with your theme.  You may prefer chair covers that are ‘one size’ and stretch to fit any chair or a ‘tailored’ linen/damask cover.  Sashes offer an opportunity to ‘tie in’ your colour theme.


What is a realistic price to pay?  A seemingly higher quote may be all inclusive (quality covers that are delivered, freshly laundered, pressed and fitted, with collection after your wedding). 


If you receive quotes that seem cheaper than you had imagined,  it may mean that you have to collect  them and take them back after the wedding.  You may have to arrange (and/or pay extra for) fitting, which (for the inexperienced) can be laborious and time consuming.    Some ‘bargain’ chair covers may even need to be pressed.  Coloured sashes may not be included in the price and a premium charged.


Before you book anything relating to decorating your venue, you should check  if there are any restrictions i.e. if you would like candles, are these allowed?

The price you pay for a meal when dining out , will not be the same as for a ‘wedding breakfast’.  The price of a meal when dining out  usually reflects ‘high volume dining’ which keeps overheads low.  If you are having your wedding breakfast in a venue  with ‘exclusive’ dining and a team dedicated to looking after you, you should expect to pay more.

Minicabs will be a cheaper option than a car that has been maintained and used exclusively for weddings, with trained chauffeurs who are used to looking after brides and their dresses.

Make an extensive list of all of your expenses and list who will pay for each of the items.  This will really help you plan your wedding

Guesstimate  each item and then ask several suppliers about their services and their prices. Ensure you understand what is included in each quote you receive so that you can make a ‘like for like’ decision.   

Having spoken with thousands of brides we know that there’s more than element of truth in the saying “you get what you’ve paid for”.


Each supplier on this Essex Wedding Professionals’ online wedding directory has met their high standards for professionalism and quality of work requirements.

To make you feel completely confident in spending  your hard-saved money, Essex Wedding Professionals recommend that you invest in Wedding Insurance.

When considering who to book, get at least three quotations;  Before asking “how much do you charge?” find out more about what the suppliers offer, what they are like and whether they are available before looking at pricing.  If you choose on price alone you may find that you don’t get the best supplier for your wedding.

If you find a supplier that you really like and want them to be / must have involved in your wedding but find they are more than you had budgeted for, you will need to work out the best strategy to stay within your budget; this may mean adjusting your budget in other areas and/or trying to negotiate with your chosen supplier . 

When negotiating be totally honest and realistic; if you ‘try it on’ then a true professional will know.  If you genuinely want them,  but have a finite budget ask if they can work with you.  You may have to accept that your first choice is out of your budget but a professional will be able to offer suggestions as to others who may be able to help you (alternatively check out the suppliers on this site).

By adding a time schedule to the list of expenses will help you to focus  on your priorities.


Wedding Ceremony / Service


If you are having a civil ceremony then you should be aware that the Registrars may have other ceremonies to perform following your wedding and may not be able to wait for a late running bride or groom.  The same may apply if you are having a religious service and there are others getting married after you.


To help reduce the stress:

Make sure that the groom arrives at least one hour early for your ceremony. This cuts out the stress if there is a traffic hold up and ensures that he will be in the right place at the right time. Your groom will then be able to greet your wedding guests, which is far more polite than having no one to meet them.


Drinks / Bar


“I don’t know how much drink to cater for”

“What drinks should we serve our guests?”


Depending on the time you have following the ceremony until you go through to your wedding breakfast will be a guide to how many drinks and the type of drinks you wish to serve your guests.    Whilst you want your guests to enjoy themselves, if they drink the average drinks served at a wedding they will be drinking the equivalent of a bottle of wine from the time they leave the ceremony to the end of the Wedding Breakfast, (approximately four hours).


If you are serving alcoholic drinks you may wish to allow one alcoholic drink (or possibly two if you are spending more than an hour for your reception drinks ) and water or a soft drink per guest (with squash available for children).   Jugs of tap water (if available) may be provided at no cost and a cheaper alternative to bottled water.


In the summer you may consider Bucks Fizz (champagne and orange juice), champagne (or other fizz i.e. Prosecco, Cava), Pimms or wine, with beer being offered for those who prefer (however if this is served in bottles it may be wise to arrange for only one bottle being served at a time per guest.


In winter, mulled wine or mulled cider may be an option or even tea, coffee or chocolate on a really wintry day will help to keep your guests warm!


If you have a couple of hours or more between the ceremony and the time for the wedding breakfast, you may consider also serving canapés or something else to keep hunger pangs away and soak up the alcohol.


Unless you or your guests are wine buffs a good quality ‘middle of the road’ ‘house wine’ will be suitable.  You may wish to purchase a couple of different bottles of wine to taste at home if you really aren’t sure which to serve.  The chef may be happy to advise on which wines are best served with your choice of food.


Generally ½ bottle of wine per adult should be allowed as a guide.  More white wine tends to be drunk than red and it is suggested that the allowance is worked out at a ratio of 2 white to 1 red.  You may be able to negotiate with the caterers to have flexibility on the allowances should it be discovered on the day that some of your guests prefer red to white.  You may also be offered the flexibility to have rose wine and beer served.


The toasting wine is traditionally champagne, although as this is not to everyone’s palate an alternative (and potentially cheaper option) may be offered.


Unless having a very formal wedding breakfast there is no need to offer liqueurs, brandy or port with coffee.



Evening Bars



Recently it has become more acceptable that guests will pay for their own drinks in the evening.


Some couples wish to provide a welcome drink to greet their evening guests.


 If you have unlimited funds (or generous parents) you may want to provide a ‘free’ bar for your guests all evening.  If you decide on this option there are a few options to consider:


You will pay for any wine, soft drinks, beer/lager/cider.  Guests pay for liqueurs, spirits etc.


Vouchers.  You provide each guest with a certain number of ‘vouchers’ which you have purchased from the caterers/bar services/ venue.  When the ‘vouchers’ run out guests then purchase their own drinks.


If you are running a ‘tab’/free bar set an agreed and confirmed total with the bar.  It is a good idea to have a signed agreement with regard to this (the bar may be provided by a different supplier to the caterer or the venue. 


Some venues/caterers/bar services will want to take payment ‘up front’ and repay any excess or will take a card payment prior to the bar being opened, with any refund due being paid to the card.


Have regular updates on how the ‘tab’ is running and ask for sight of  the X reading  throughout the evening and a copy of the till roll with Z reading at the end of the evening.


Usually the tab runs more quickly during the first couple of hours and slows as the evening progresses.  However you could set an agreed tab per hour and once this is reached guests buy their own drinks until the tab is re-opened.





“We went to a wedding where the band / dj only played the music that they liked”.

“No one danced until after 10pm”

“My friend only paid £x.  I didn’t go to her wedding but heard that the music was blaring and too loud and they wouldn’t play requests”


You want everyone to enjoy your wedding and will need to consider who you want to entertain your guests.


If you are having a wedding at the height of summer you may well find that dancing doesn’t get underway until it starts to get dark, although this doesn’t mean that your guests are not enjoying the music you’ve provided for them!  Before the party really gets underway is a great time for ‘non-dancing’ requests to be played which will cater for the youngest and oldest guests’ musical tastes.


You may have singers or musicians booked to play during your wedding ceremony/service, followed by the drinks reception and wedding breakfast.  During your wedding breakfast you may choose to have a magician, caricaturist or even a crèche for young children.  If you are having an evening reception you may plan to have a different type of entertainment.


How do you make sure that you have only the best people at your wedding?  If you’ve been to a function or wedding where you’ve been blown away by the entertainment then they may be the ‘ones’ for you!  Please be aware that some ‘Club’ entertainers are not specialist wedding entertainers and may not have experience of the mixed age groups and their requirements.


If you are having more than a few young children to your wedding you may be thinking about having someone look after and keeping them entertained, so that they don’t get bored and mums and dads can relax and enjoy the day.  To keep them safely entertained make sure that anyone looking after them works to professional standards and meets the minimum legal requirements with regard to CRBs (police checks), ratio of staff to children and the range and quality of equipment supplied and activities being offered.  A quality crèche will be able to advise on these aspects.


Whatever type of supplier you are looking for, personal recommendations really do mean they are worth contacting and genuine testimonials will reinforce excellent service and performance. 

All the entertainers on Essex Wedding Professionals have been validated by both personal recommendations, genuine testimonials, professional knowledge and experience of their services.

Book your entertainment early.  Sometimes the best acts and entertainers are booked years in advance.

If booking a singer/musician or dj it may not be possible to see them play before your wedding as they may be wedding specialists and the only time they play is at weddings.  It may not be realistic to expect to visit someone else’s wedding to see someone work!  However they may be playing at other functions which may offer this opportunity although it won’t be within a ‘wedding environment’.  Excellent entertainers will have many testimonials written by previous customers that they will be happy to show you and who they are happy for you to contact if you feel you would like to follow up.


Make sure that your entertainers will work with you to offer the services that you want.  Ensure that any music you don’t want playing isn’t played!


You may findsome singers/musicians and DJs have a contract stipulating their requirements and the times they will / will not play (i.e. require breaks).  Check the contract to see if you are happy with this.  They may stipulate that they need a ‘changing/green room’ (your venue may not have such a facility) and need to be fed at a given time (which may need checking with the venue/caterer).  Have you agreed to feed them?  If so what and when? Ensure this is clear to avoid any misunderstandings on the day.  If someone is working at your wedding throughout the day (and more so if they are also working into the evening) it is reasonable to offer them something to eat.  Ask your venue for options as they may offer a “suppliers’ menu”.


You may find that you are asked to supply drinks to entertainers.  It is reasonable to ensure that anyone working on your wedding day is adequately hydrated and therefore you should remember to ask your venue to supply water (or squash)  to those suppliers working for you.


To ensure you receive only the very best service you may like to think about whether you think it best to supply non-alcoholic drinks only.   If you provide alcohol to suppliers that results in an accident / breakage, insurance may be affected.  It may also result in deterioration in the quality of service.


Check your entertainer’s drinking policy.  A non drinking policy is the professional way to work.  Most quality venues are likely to require that all suppliers / contractors comply with a non alcoholic drinking policy whilst the supplier is on site and whilst working.


If your entertainers are having breaks, are they flexible when they take them?

How long will they be and how often?


What will happen during their break?


Will they provide  a ‘back up’?

Will it keep the party going?


If you have booked your entertainment for specified times, you may find that these will be strictly adhered to.  For example if you have asked a musician to play during the ceremony and your wedding breakfast and give specific times for when these take place,  then they could stop playing at the exact time given. 


Some entertainers quote for a ‘day’ and are totally flexible in what they provide.  You may find that initially they may appear to charge more than others but they may also offer additional services which may work out more cost-effective than other options.  For example a dj/musician/singer may offer to play music for your wedding ceremony, wedding reception and make announcements as well as the evening party for one inclusive price.


If you book musical entertainment through an agency you may find that the line up/person you thought you had booked may be changed.  If you want a specific line up, ensure this is clearly stated and made reference to in the contract before you sign.  If you have not seen the line up play, you should attempt to hear them.  Listening to CDs, if they are the only option, may give a good indication if its a recording of a live performance, otherwise studio recordings may have some post production work carried out which may not accurately reflect the ‘live’ performance.


When booking any entertainment, make sure that there is backup equipment in place, just in case of a failure.


The equipment should be of good quality and well presented.


 All equipment should be P. A. T. tested ( portable appliance tested). 


All discos, bands and entertainers should have their own third party liability insurance for a minimum of two million pounds.  Members of the Musicians Union have £10million of Public Liability Insurance.  Members of The English Toastmasters Associaton have £5 million Public Liability Insurance cover.


So often bands will pack up in the middle of your party because they have finished playing, and not wait until the end.  This causes a nuisance and disruption and may also be a health and safety risk when heavy equipment is moved close to your guests.  Check what your band will do for you.


Bands often play sets or to a time when they will take a break.  You may have a band play for one hour or two, forty five minute slots.  How will you cover the breaks?


When booking any entertainment, make sure that there is backup equipment in place, just in case of a failure.


The equipment should be of good quality and well presented.


Visit you entertainers to check that they do perform to the standard that you are looking for.


Check your entertainer’s drinking policy.  A non drinking policy is the professional way to work.  Most quality venues are likely to require that all suppliers / contractors comply with a non alcoholic drinking policy whilst the supplier is on site and whilst working.


All equipment should be P. A. T. tested ( portable appliance tested ). 


All discos, bands and entertainers should have their own third party liability insurance for a minimum of two million pounds. members of the Musicians Union have £10million of Public liability insurance.




Book your florist early.  The best florists are usually booked well in advance. Once you have selected your florist, use their experience and take their advice with regards to seasonal flowers.  If you choose ‘out of season’ flowers there will be additional cost involved.


You may wish to give your mother or mothers a bouquet each during the wedding speeches.


If you are having a wedding ceremony or service with flowers, you may well be able to use the flowers from your ceremony or service for decorating the room where you will have your wedding breakfast.


Some brides put a mark on the back of the place name to show who is to take the flowers home on that table, if you are giving them to your guests.


If you want someone in need to make special use of your flowers after your day, a hospital, hospice or care home may well be grateful to receive them.


The venue may be able to offer a storage facility in a cool area for you bouquets.


Ask your florist for the best advice as to how to care for your flowers.


Have you thought of using potted plants for your decorations.  These make wonderful gifts after you day, and will last a lot longer.




For some couples it may be a better option to have a break for a couple of days after your wedding, before going on honeymoon.  This will give you both a chance to rest and make sure you are not rushed.


If you are going straight off on honeymoon, make sure that you have a check list to pack from and that you do not forget the essentials.  Passport, tickets, money and insurance are all must haves.


Ask about special honeymoon offers and always let people know that you have just been married when you arrive at your destination.  It is amazing how many extra free bottles of champagne will arrive to help you celebrate.




Wedding insurance is available to cover you for most eventualities and may be well worth the small investment for total peace of mind.


Ask to see the third party liability insurance or professional indemnity certificates from all of your suppliers.  This will give you peace of mind that they will look after you.




Try to allow at least six weeks for people to reply, when sending out your invitations. You will need to provide final numbers to the caterer some weeks before your wedding. 


When sending out your invitations, have you thought about asking your guests for two or three of party their favourite tunes that they like to dance to.  This makes for a successful party and you get to edit these and they feel involved


You may wish to colour coordinate your invitations with the colour and theme of your wedding.  If you are computer literate, you may wish to create your own.


Include a map of the area showing the wedding ceremony venue and reception venue, if different.  This will make sure your guests know exactly where they are going.

Other helpful information you could add could be where local cash machines and garages are, the telephone numbers of taxis and places to stay. 




Your new ring is the most important item of jewellery on your wedding day.  Any other jewellery you wear should complement and enhance your new ring and not detract from it.


Luck and superstitions


Something old, antique lace or jewellery, a family heirloom or bible.


Something new, The bride’s clothes (but remember to wear in your wedding shoes), lingerie perhaps.


Something borrowed, a lace handkerchief, jewellery or watch.


Something blue, usually a garter, great for that risky photograph, or a blue ribbon or button sewn into the dress.


And a silver sixpence in your shoe, to ensure a life of good fortune and possible a sore foot at the end of the day.




Make a list of all of your ‘must have favourites’ for your wedding day.


List all of the music that you would really like to hear.


List the music that you do not want played on your wedding day.


For help with music please send an e-mail to and we will be pleased to help.


If you are having trouble agreeing to the first dance and can not reach an amicable decision, the bride should have her choice of first dance and the musicians could play the grooms choice as a dedication to the bride, during the evening.




Get a large file to keep all of your documentation together.  This will save you time and frustration when you are able to have all of your information in one place.




Weddings may be stressful leading up to the day.  Take time out for yourselves.  Book a meal or a quiet weekend away or go for a picnic or walk in a quiet scenic and or romantic place.




Start writing a list of all of your favourite music.  Add to this list as you hear music you like.


During your stag or hen nights or in the run up to your wedding, discuss the music that you have enjoyed partying to in the past with your friends.


Ask your guests, when you send out your invitations, for their favourite two or three party tunes. They will feel more involved, and that you care for them, and you still get to decide whether to use their ideas or not.


Make a list of all your absolutely must have tunes.


Make a list of all the tunes you would very much like played during your party.


Make a list of anything you enjoy listening to, which may or may not be party music.  This may be played before the party, when you are greeting your guests.


Make a list of the definitely “do not want played” tunes or artists.


Try to go for music that everyone will like to make for a real party atmosphere.




Buy or make up a wedding planner for timing and budgeting.  You may wish to use a spreadsheet for this purpose.  You can use your planner to list the names and addresses of companies, the person to contact and useful telephone numbers, as well as times and dates of scheduled visits


Make sure that you have both discussed your plans for your wedding in advance of getting your friends and families involved in your arrangements.  By doing this it will appear that at least you are both singing from the same hymn sheet.


Once you have established your arrangements for your day you may then be able to a lot tasks to the people that want to be involved.


If you fail to plan – you plan to fail.


When dealing with your suppliers, make sure that you have contracts with each one of them in writing.




Some couples prefer vouchers for gifts or holidays rather than presents.  Let your friends and family know what you would like.


A good way to get what you want and offer a range of gift suggestions to suit all pockets is to have a wedding gift list registered at one or two department stores or a specialist store.


Ask your wedding list supplier to publish a list of the presents that you would like.


The best of these will offer internet access for you and your friends and families.


You may ask for donations to your chosen charity




Check that your registrar knows the correct pronunciation of your names before your ceremony.


Check the music for your civil ceremony with your registrars.  They will be able to advise on the suitability of your selection and will have the final say.




Your wedding day may be a long day.  Take time out to relax, even if it is a few moments sitting with your friends and/or family.




A wedding ring is a continuous unbroken circle of eternity.  Historically, the wedding ring was connected to the exchange of valuables rather than a symbol of eternal love and devotion. Modern day society believes that this ancient symbol should be incorporated into a wedding ceremony when ‘everlasting love’ is the hope of the couple, their families and friends.




Generally the bride’s family and friends will be seated on the left as you are looking towards where the ceremony takes place and the groom’s family and friends will be seated on the right.


If there is an imbalance of family and friends, you may seat your guests so that they are more evenly spread around.


At the ceremony you may wish to label the reserved seats for members of your family or very special friends.


If you are having a reading, make sure that the person doing the reading is sitting in a position where they may easily get to the place from where they will be reading.


Choose the best place for the reading to take place and make sure that the person doing the reading, knows where they should stand.


Sore Feet


Wear your new wedding shoes around the house for several weeks before your wedding day. They will then be worn in before your big day and let you be far more comfortable on your wedding day.  You may cover them to save any marks appearing, but they will at the very least be comfortable for you.




There are many books about wedding speeches but you can get some good basic information from and going to the documentation section, then wedding speeches.  This will give you the traditional order of speakers and some information about the contents of each speech.




Choose your stationery to match your colour theme.


You should be able to coordinate your stationery, from invitations, order of ceremony or service, table plans, name place markers on the table, right the way through to thank you cards, if you wish to.


Always get a proof before agreeing to go ahead with the printing.  Check your proof thoroughly and ideally have someone else check it for you as well.  Check for accuracy of dates and times, venue and addresses etc.


Have an order of service or ceremony sheet to act as a memento of your day.  Make sure that you have one for each of your guests, plus a few spares.


Order your thank you cards with your stationery.  This will make sure that you are keeping to the same style and theme throughout.


Stretching the pounds


On honeymoon eat at restaurants that are not in the tourist trap areas.


Book an all inclusive honeymoon.  You will not be tempted to overspend if everything is already paid for.


Have your wedding out of season, when you will get special deals and save money.


Have you thought about getting married on a Monday to Thursday.  You will get much better value for money if you do this, generally regardless of the season.


Have you considered a small intimate wedding ceremony and breakfast, followed by a larger party.




Choose what style of wedding you would like.  Very formal, formal, semiformal or informal, the venue, dress, entertainment and catering can all reflect your choice of style.




Have a meeting with any supplier you are thinking of booking. 

They are going to be working with you when you are planning your special day and you will need to feel totally comfortable with them and feel that you can entrust them with making your dreams come true on your wedding day.  If you have any doubts at the meeting or feel there is a personality clash then you may find this can be a real stress inducer in the run up to and on your wedding day.  Only have people you like and feel comfortable with working for you.


You will need to book and pay a booking fee (or deposit , depending on the supplier) to secure your suppliers’ services.  Each supplier will have their own payment terms and you should check when these will be paid and enter them on your budget and schedule.


Table for cards and presents


Ask your venue if they are able to provide a table or area that is secure, for your gifts and cards from your guests.


Ask your venue how they can help you look after them.


For decoration and security, have a locked card box/posting box for cards that may contain cheques, cash or vouchers.




Ask to see testimonials from each of your suppliers.  They should be proud to show you that their previous clients have enjoyed their experiences with them.


Phone the people giving the testimonials to check that they are genuine, (if you have any doubts)


If there are any further doubts then it may be sensible to speak to the representative at your venue to see if the supplier has worked at their venue before and to obtain their views and opinions about your suppliers.


Themed Weddings


To be different, set a theme that that has a personal meaning to you.  This will help you plan and create a setting that is very special to you.


Some themed ideas may include a hobby, sport, ethnic leaning, movie, around the world, beach, motoring, colours, history such as a time period, music, etc. 


Your theme may be incorporated into your dress, wedding cake, flowers, table decorations, music etc.


Have you thought about hiring seat covers, to help you obtain the look of your dreams for your reception.


Timetable for your day


Plan your getting ready stage in the morning, before you leave from home, with a checklist of things to do.


Allow contingency time for anything that may go wrong.


Make a guide to times plan, but not a minute by minute plan.


Plan your day, with lead times and contingencies.  The best information regarding times may come from your suppliers working for you on your day/


Do remember that time is one of the most important issues during your day.  Apart from all the things that you have to do, MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELVES AND THE THINGS THAT YOU WANT TO DO.


Take time out to stand back and admire your reception décor.  You have planned for this and now will be the only chance you get to take stock of what you have created.


Walk out of the reception room together and take a look back to see your friends and family enjoying themselves whilst helping you to celebrate your special day.  This is what memories are made of.


Remember that with a carefully planned timetable, you should have enough time to enjoy yourselves and relax even for a few minutes now and again.


The most important people to look after on your day are yourselves.  Take the time out to enjoy each other’s company, even if it is only a few minutes, here and there.


There may be a lull in the day’s proceedings between the wedding breakfast and the evening’s entertainment.  Use this wisely to take time out for yourselves or to talk to your closest friends and family or people that you feel are very special to you.


Time Together


Take time out to enjoy yourselves during the build up to your wedding.


Make fixed appointments with each other, which you will not break, and go for a romantic evening or day out, so that you still have quality time for each other.


The is an awful lot of planning to do for one day, but the result should justify the means.




Make sure you procure the services of a first class toastmaster to make sure that your day runs smoothly and to time.


For and excellent and experienced toastmaster please get in touch with Richard Palmer on 01245 222392 during office hours or 07971` 409977 at any time.


Your toastmaster should make you both feel pampered, and look after your guests, on your behalf.




When proposing a toast, ask all your guests to stand.  The person to whom the toast is addressed does not stand.


The way to ask your guests to stand for a toast, is as follows.  “Ladies and gentlemen will you please stand for a toast to the bride and groom”.  When your guests have stood up it is good to say “Thank you”, followed by, “The toast is, the bride and groom”.  This should be repeated by all of your guests saying, “The bride and groom”.


By asking your guests to stand for a toast to the bride and groom, the bide and groom would know that they do not have to stand for this toast, as they are the recipients of the toast.




Make sure that you organise your own transport after your party, if you are not staying at your venue.


Check for adequate parking facilities and or arrangements.


Check for transport facilities for you guests, if they have to leave vehicles overnight, for instance.


If you are using an out of town location for your wedding or reception, you may be best advised to get a written quotation and written confirmation of your booking before your day.  Some transport companies may be tempted to take the more local work rather than look after your guests.




Make sure the ushers know what they are supposed to do on your day.


For the ceremony, make sure that the ushers know what side each family sits and which seats are reserved and for whom.


Ask the ushers to bring large golfing umbrellas to look after guests if it rains.


Your Venue


Have you found your dream venue?  It’s true “you will know when you find the one”. 

However it’s also true that first impressions are important and you should go with your initial reactions. 

How is your initial enquiry dealt with?  How easy is it to view the venue, do they fit in with your schedule?  What’s their communication like?  Are they quick to respond/follow up on your viewings/questions?  Will you be dealing with only one person who will look after you throughout your planning and on your wedding day? Do they make you feel special? Do you both like them?  Are they flexible?  Do they listen to what you want or do they tell you ‘this is how we do it’?  If you’ve asked for something different to what they usually provide and its reasonable request and they respond negatively, will you be able to live with this during the planning and on the day itself?

You should reassure yourself that your venue complies with the required licensing and insurance requirements.  They should have public liability insurance, a current wedding licence, fire certificate (and up to date fire extinguishing equipment), drinks and entertainment licenses for the areas you are using.  If your venue has a summer area for weddings these should also be compliant with legislation.  If you have guests who smoke find out where the smoking areas are, if they are undercover etc.

The same licenses and regulations apply whether you book an established venue or are having a marquee wedding.  If you are hiring a private building/house non-smoking regulations, public liability insurance, fire certificate etc still apply.

Your chosen venue should have copies of this information for you to view or provide you with a copy (which some wedding insurance companies may require).

If any of the above questions provides you with any negative thoughts, perhaps you may want to consider alternatives.


Once you’ve found your dream venue you may find that the hire costs are going to seriously compromise your budget.  You don’t want to go anywhere else!

To save money, choosea midweek and/or ‘off season’ day.  Friday, Saturday, or Sunday are the most popular days on which to get married.   Hire charges during the ‘peak season’ (summer months) can be substantially more than ‘mid or low’ season.

Have you thought about getting married on a Monday to Thursday.  You will get much better value for money if you do this, generally regardless of the season.

Have you considered a small intimate wedding ceremony and breakfast, followed by a larger party?


By choosing an ‘off peak day’ you should find that most venues offer special deals.  You may find that this applies to suppliers too!





Book your videographer early.  The best videographers are usually booked well in advance, maybe up to two to three years or more in advance.


When you look at a videographer’s work, see if you can look at whole videos/dvds rather than the general promotional videos/dvds compiled from several different weddings.  It is easy to get that excellent highlight, but consistent quality film for a whole wedding is far more difficult.


Be aware of sub-contracting.  Make sure that the work that you look at has been filmed by the videographer who claims to have taken the film.


Make sure that the videographer has quality backup equipment in place.  The professional videographers carry at least two video cameras at a wedding, which should be of the same type.


Spend time with your videographer before your wedding, so that you feel relaxed when your video is being taken.


If you do not feel comfortable with your videographer at your first meeting, you may continue to feel uncomfortable with him, and this will show on your video/dvd.


Your videographer is there to be unobtrusive and to record the day’s proceedings and not to organise them.  They should work in the background, but still get all the important film.


Find out the different packages that the videographer is able to offer. 


Some offer a complete day package from getting ready in the morning through to the last dance.  Other shorter packages should be cheaper, but be sure to include all of the events that you want recorded.


Make sure that you have permission to have the video made of your ceremony or service.  Some celebrants may object to a videographer taking a video during the ceremony, or may restrict the angles or positions of the camera, so it is best to check for the restrictions that may apply.


Wedding Breakfast


The wedding breakfast is so named because it is the first meal of the day after the wedding ceremony.


Instead of a sit down meal, have you thought about a buffet or canapés?


Hot and cold buffets may offer better value for money than a sit down meal and are far less formal.  A buffet may be server in whole or in part.


Ask your guests if they have any special dietary requirements or allergies.  Be sure to let the caterer know.


Your caterer or venue may be able to offer you a full trial meal.


For your evening buffer after a late or large wedding breakfast, you will only need to cater for a lesser percentage of your guests.  This will save you money.


Who to invite


Remember it is your wedding day.  You should choose who will be there. The closest friends and relatives that love you and care for you will ensure that you have the best possible day.


If someone else is helping with the finances, they may also wish to have a say in who will be invited.


For more information or help with your wedding planning, please call Richard Palmer anytime on 07971 409977 or 01245 222392 during normal office hours.