Planning Your Big Day
In this second part of our guide we will cover arrangements for your big day itself. This is a large section but still only serves as a guide.
Research and costings
There is often a mark-up on wedding costs so do your research carefully and see what costs are first before revealing what the occasion is. There are good wedding magazines and online resources to compare prices, but remember that sometimes you get what you pay for! When you do agree a price, it is often a good idea to keep back a balancing payment for after the event, this keeps the service sharp since there is still an interest in everything going well. Ask for names of previous clients and check for personal recommendations, especially for the more expensive and important elements of the day.
Getting the right wedding dress is hugely important for most brides, so take time for research and fttings (look for bridal dresses or bridal gowns on search engines as well). There are some good second hand bargains but many brides prefer to have something made from scratch. Be suspicious of an assistant who says you look great in everything, and take a trusted friend for advice!
The Groom and his party will often just hire a suit (but see above, it is only convention and you might want something different).
On the day
Wedding photography can be expensive – is there someone among your friends and acquaintances with a good eye and some nice prints on their wall? It may save some money but don’t try this unless you are sure they are good enough and are happy to do it for you (in which case it’s a nice gift from them).
In the same vein, wedding cars can be pricey and can also book up well in advance during the summer. A friend with a smart car and a ribbon could serve you well if your budget is stretching. On the other hand you might prefer something different like a classic car, horse and carriage or even a hot air balloon!
There is often a long gap between the end of the service and the start of the reception. Given it is often past lunchtime for many people, slick photography and the timely arrival of drinks and snacks (such as canapes or hors d’oeuvres) from the wedding caterers can be very welcome.
Wedding catering will be influenced by the venue and its facilities, the number of guests and other factors such as the time of year, budget etc. Something simple to prepare, seasonal and tasty should be easy for the caterer and enjoyable for the diners.
Don’t forget some of your guests may be vegetarian or have other dietary requirements and this should be determined before finalising catering arrangements.
Caterers can give advice on choice of wines, but you can always approach a wine merchant directly for advice (with wine tasting!) before making these important choices. Make sure there are plenty of soft drinks especially if it is in the summer and there are lots of children. There is often a huge mark up on these so a trip to the supermarket might be a good idea.
Try and obtain your drinks on a sale or return basis. This means any unused bottles can be returned and you will get a rebate.
Music could range from the church organist, music on arrival at the reception and a disco or live band for an evening party. Again, these can book up early in busy parts of the year (i.e. summer) so if you have a favourite band book them early.
Give yourself time as a couple to step away from the party when you feel like it; the day will go very quickly and you might like to spend a bit of time catching your breath or changing into that going away outfit!