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If you are an individual wanting you're wedding to stand out from all the others without paying for it for the rest of your life- read on.
I really hate those timetables that tell when you must book this and that.
Just prioritise what is important and work you way down the list, spending the most amount of money and time on those most important elements.
I have tried not to go on about my wedding - if you want read about it - its right at the bottom.
* * * ENGAGEMENT RINGS * * *
Are Diamonds a girl's best friend?
There are plenty of other gemstones Rubys Emeralds, Sapphires, Amethyst - You don't have to have a diamond.
Sapphires come in every colour (apart from red because they are Rubys) you can even get crazy colour changing sapphires.
If you go for the a diamond ring consider the five C's (Colour, Clarity, Cut, Caret and Conflict free) Its too in-depth for here but a quick Google search before you go shopping will make you feel much more confident in the jewellers.
How about an antique ring or a family heirloom- get an unusual design and much more ring for your money.
Think about the wedding band whilst in the jewellers, you could even try some on - as most of you life you will be wearing them together. Remember that a the wedding band will need to be made of the same metal or one will wear the other away.
* * * START PLANNING * * *
A few things you need to discuss with the groom before you start choosing flowers and trying on dresses.
Do you want to save up, lose weight, grow your hair before the wedding? How long might that take?
How long do you want the engagement? A simple wedding can be planned in a few weeks.
What type of wedding do you both want? (Intimate or extravagant, Formal or informal?) Have a chat with your nearest and dearest, when are they available, check holidays, exams and operations. also anniversaries of loved ones no longer with us, you won't want to share your wedding anniversary with the anniversary of a loved ones death.
Write a first draft of the guest list, just so you have a rough idea of numbers. This will be one of the first questions venues will ask.
Choose a few dates which would be suitable - next you need to arrange ceremony and the venue for the after party.
* * * HOW TO KEEP YOUR SANITY * * *
Prioritise what is important to your both. Spend your money and time on the most important tasks.
If people offer help - accept it.
Give the least reliable people the least important tasks. If you don't care what the flowers in the church are like - give someone else the worry. It's a job ticked off your list (I promise you no-one will notice any decoration in the church) They will probably surprise you and do an excellent job.
When you book something, get written confirmation.
Plan something to look forward after the wedding - a weekend away, a concert or spa day. It will be nice to have something to look forward when you get back from your honeymoon.
If you work in an office, use your lunchtime to make all those phone calls and emails.
Make at least one night a week completely wedding free - your fiancé will appreciate it.
* * * CHURCH OR CIVIL CEREMONY * * *
You'll probably have a good idea at this point, which you're going to go for.
If you want to get married in your parish church contact your local vicar. You can normally find out his or hers contact details from a notice board near the church or for extra brownie points go to a service and have a chat with the vicar at the end of the service.
If you want to get married in another parish for instants where your parents live, this may be possible depending on the vicar. He or she may insist you attend worship for a period of time. You will need to have a chat with the vicar.
* MEETING THE VICAR *
The vicar will want to meet you a number of times both before the wedding. If you don't know the vicar the first meeting can be quite daunting.
Ensure you both are presentable and do not swear. If you are meeting the vicar at your house, ensure your home is tidy and clean. Hide any offence materials (porn, bongs, sex toys, vicars don't tend to like this sort of thing) Vicars normally like a nice cup of tea, (use best china) and some biscuits.
The vicar will want to know, why you wish to marry.
He or she may ask you about your beliefs
He or she will explain about what need to be done before you can get married, getting a licence or having banns read etc.
Set a date and time. You can in theory marry any day between 8am - 6pm. But you will need to fit in with the vicar's diary
He or She will want to know about any special hymns or readings you want.
It will cost between £170 - £250 but you will have to pay extra for organist, bell ringers, choir etc.
I recommend that you tell the vicar about any thing unusual in advance, black wedding dresses or guests in fancy dress could give a frail old vicar a heart attack on the big day.
Normally you will be able to choose the entrance music, you don't have to have the normal wedding march (yawn) depends on the organist - ask nicely (and give them enough time to practice) I am sure that they won't mind playing "Angels" by Robbie Williams if that's what you really want.
You don't have to have the organist - if you want your best mate to play the guitar - that's cool.
* HYMNS *
You normally get to choose 2-3 hymns.
Have a good read through a hymnbook - choose you favourites, ones with personal meaning, ones that everyone knows or hymns you sang at school.
If you think that no one will sing - then consider a choir
* READINGS *
You can choose a reading, it doesn't have to be from the Bible.
Remember it is quite a daunting task to read in front of a church full of people, so only ask someone to do it if you think they are up to the job.
* CONFETTI *
Different vicars have different opinions you will need to ask.
* * * CIVIL WEDDING * * *
Just because your not marring in a church doesn't mean that it can't be a grand wedding.
You can get married in any registry office in the England or Wales or at any approved premises including - Football grounds, London eye, Castles, Gardens, Alton towers, Wookey Hole, Zoos even an Elvis style wedding at Butlins.
You will need to contact the venue and the registry office local to the venue to arrange a Registrar to perform the ceremony.
For some strange reason you can not get married out doors in England
Pictures of Member Advice on Wedding Planning
MY HUBBY AND I
You can marry any day between 8am - 6pm. But you will need to fit in with the venues diary.
* MUSIC & READINGS *
You are not allowed any religious references in our service - no hymns. You will need to discuss this in advance with the Registrar - they will have differing views on the subject.
* * * THE AFTER PARTY OR RECEPTION * * *
Next job is to book a venue for the after party or you may want to call it the reception. I thinks that if you call it a reception you feel certain obligations - e.g a seat down meal, champagne or speeches. Empty you brain of what you expect from a wedding reception. Think of it as a party, you are celebrating your new life together as man and wife.
- - 7 WEDDING AFTER PARTY IDEAS - -
- An elegant summer picnic in the church grounds.
- A meal at your local pub, pick your favourite dishes.
- A grand hotel, a game of croquet before sitting down for dinner.
- Have a house party - hire a large holiday home, get some beers in and finger food.
- Hire your favourite restaurant - you know the food will be good.
- Anyone got a big garden you could borrow? - A garden party (if its good enough for the Queen)
- Village hall, bouncy castles and pizza delivered.
- - 8 MONEY SAVING TIPS - -
- Most people getting married nowadays are paying you the wedding themselves - do you want to spend your hard earnt money on your honeymoon or for other people to party?
- The later the wedding the less food you will need to supply for your guests.
- Choose any day but Saturday.
- Choose an out of season month, November - April.
- If you able to be flexible, book the venue nearer the date - you could get a late minute bargain. Only for the brave.
- Less guests, double check the guest list. Could any be invited just to the reception? It all adds up.
- Mention the word Wedding the price doubles, so when inquiring tell them it for a party.
- Before you hand over a deposit, and sign anything READ ALL THE SMALL PRINT!!
- - 9 POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A VENUE - -
- Location, how long to travel from the church/registry office? Is it going to be convenient for all your guests?
- Areas for children to play?
- Suitable for elderly relatives?
- Enough parking?
- Are you allowed outside caterers? Is the kitchen area suitable for the caterer?
- Enough toilets?
- Who responsible to clean up?
- How long are you hiring the venue for? Don't forget you may need time to decorate the venue.
- Are you allowed your own wine? Do you have to pay a corkage fee?
- Arrange an area for gifts - and someone to look after envelopes (which may contain money)
- - 7 Food Ideas - - - Chip van - Hog Roast - BBQ - Burger Van - Everyone bring a plate of food - Just deserts - Delivered Pizzas
* * * SO FAR SO GOOD * * *
Now for the fun stuff.
Remember it's YOUR big day.
* * * INSPIRATION * * *
Stop - don't waste your money on a stack of wedding magazines just yet. You can get inspiration in many more places
Think about what you enjoy doing, what makes you and your partner unique to your family and friends.
If you want your wedding to be different, get ideas from different places do not rely on wedding magazines. Get inspiration from Art galleries, Museums, Non-wedding magazines (vogue is great), Dreams, Favourite holiday you have had together, Books, Paintings, Family, Pets, Music. The list is endless.
Be creative. Think fun. Think beautiful, then create your dream wedding inside your budget.
You don't have to have a colour scheme or theme and everything doesn't need to match. No one will notice if the invite doesn't match the thank you card.
* * * CHOOSING BESTMAN AND BRIDESMAIDS. * * *
Choosing a Bestman is the groom's role; he should try to choose someone reliable, and trustworthy. If you aren't convinced by his choice suggest you have more than one Bestman.
It is a great honour to be asked to be a Bestman and the most improbable Bestman will normally deliver the goods on the day. So don't panic. (What has he actually got to do?)
Ushers advise your guests where to seat and hand out the Order of Service. Could be Male or Female.
The amount of Bridesmaids you choose may depend on your budget and the size of the venue. Of course you don't have to have any.
Little bridesmaids - their job is to look pretty. Choose girls who aren't painfully shy.
Big bridesmaids - Consider whether they actually want to be a bridesmaid - We they be supportive and helpfully on the big day or just selfish.
- - - 5 Bestman, Usher and Pageboys Gift Ideas - - -
Tankard Cufflinks Pocket Watch Hip Flask Photo Frame
Write a list of who you both want to invite to your wedding.
If someone (parents or great aunt) is contributing financially, it is nice to let them air they views on the guest list.
If you have booked a wedding a year or more in advance consider sending "save the date" cards. It lets people know to save the date and that more details will follow.
CHILDREN - Its up to you. If you do invite them it may be worthwhile ensuring they is something to occupy them - colouring in books at the table, a play area.
If you have any artistic talent why not make your own invitations. Craft shops sell card making packs - make a night of it invite some friend round, and a bottle of wine.
- - 5 ideas for invitations - -
- Picture of the lovely couple
- Photo of where you got engaged (if suitable)
- The church or venue of the wedding ceremony
- A Heart shaped chocolate stuck on a card.
- If you have no artistic talent or have hundreds of invites. there are lots of printing companies on the internet you could use or own photography or some printing companies (vistaprint.co.uk) let you use they own images. you could flat or folded invites £32.99 for 100 not including delivery or 22.99 for 100 magnets or postcards 14.99 for 100 just triple check the spelling and all the details are correct before you order
* * * OTHER WEDDING STATIONARY * * *
An order of service is a good idea - you can make this using Word and print on nice paper or card.
Other wedding stationary you may want to consider - place setting cards, thank you cards
Consider the fonts used -a fancy script style font maybe difficult to read.
All your stationary doesn't need to match - why not have roses on the invites, butterflies on the Order of Service and hearts on the place settings. It is your Wedding.
* PLACE SETTINGS *
Get someone with neat handwriting to write the names on the cards - or you can get place setting card for you printer.
* CREATING A TABLE PLAN *
It can get quite complicated with a top table if a set of parents has re-married. You don't have to have a top table, or have no parents on the top table.
I have been to a wedding with no seating plan - people had to move seats around - but it all worked in the end.
You may want to mix people up or keep people with those they already know - you know your guests. You may want to enlist the help from friends or family - but choose your helpers with caution.
* * * TRANSPORT * * * - - - 13 Transport Ideas- - -
Parachute in (for the very adventurous)
Motorbike and sidecar
Horse drawn carriage
A black people carrier
Hire a VW camper van for two weeks enough time for your honeymoon as well.
Hot Air Balloon
Speak to your younger brother or your local group of Gary boys with they modified cars (that would be very amusing turning up it a lowered Golf Gti with the really loud music)
Some garages let you test drive a car for a weekend - don't mention the wedding, ask like your interested in purchasing it. The worst they can say is no. When you take the car back just say it was too big to fit in the garage. (I used to work in a Garage I know it's happened)
* * * THE DRESS - AT LAST * * * Nothing is stopping you from wearing whatever you want to - your best jeans and favourite going out top. According to the Church of England website you may wear any colour you wish.
The trend for wearing white only started in 1840 when Queen Victoria wore white. Before that people wore almost any other colour. Don't feel bullied into white there a whole rainbow of colours out there for you to try.
If you want a simple dress try looking at the bridesmaid dresses (they come in loads more colours than wedding dresses including cream and white) and are a lot cheaper.
Try the high street shops - Monsoon, have some fantastic wedding dresses - Don't forget the supermarkets.
What to be eco-friendly and save money - Have a look at second hand dresses - Oxfam have stores with devoted bridal departments - or Ebay, Google search for second hand wedding dresses they are loads of smaller companies.
Whether you buy from the high street, second hand or from a bridal shop - your dress will probably need adjusting to fit perfectly.
Considering how much you are going to spend you may be able to buy an amazing designer evening dress for a similar sum and you could wear it again. (How great would it feel to walk down the aisle in a Gucci dress)
* * * OTHER OUTFITS * * *
This is wear some people let the power go to their heads.
It is your wedding - but consider other peoples feelings. You don't want people sulking on your big day because you made all the guests wear yellow.
If you want everyone to feel good about themselves, let them have some say over what they wear.
* BRIDESMAIDS *
Save money - have fewer bridesmaids
The supermarkets have some great value bridesmaid dress for little girls.
For bigger girls consider being matching outfits from your favourite high street shops.
The wedding dress shops have loads of bridesmaid dress but they are normally quite expensive.
* * * THE GROOM * * *
Morning suit, Tails, Tuxedo, Casual suit, Short and T-shirt
I sometimes feel a little sorry for the groom at a wedding. normally they get put in a hired morning suit, waistcoat, tie, they must be baking hot under all that. Give a little thought to how they will look as the layers start to come off.
I was quoted £250 to hire one morning suit. Shop around.
For a more casual look consider buying a suit - they start from £100 in the supermarket or Burtons (get them adjusted, to fit like made to measure)
Look for deals such as groom goes free; don't be afraid to ask for a discount.
Ebay have some really good value suits for little boys from about £20
Hiring a suit could cost about £60-100 for a five-year-old boy!!
Black school trousers, shirt and tie, looks really smart - tie could match bridesmaids dresses.
Normally the mothers will consult with each other what colours they will wear.
* * * FLOWERS * * *
I am sorry I can't offer you much advice on this because talking about flowers really bores me.
I nearly cried when I heard the prices the bouquets £250+ I found a cheaper florist but it still cost £50 for my bouquet.
I carried it down the aisle, held it for the photos and gave it to my Mum when we got to the reception. I probably only held it for an hour.
You could carry a single rose, sunflower or orchid,
Florists also like to have a picture to work from so have a look at some pictures before you go - ask the florist for alternative cheaper flowers.
Silk flowers - would last forever - and you could order them well in advance so any changes could be made.
* * * PHOTOS * * *
I was really surprised to see the quality of the photos taken by the guests, you could get guests to email you their photos.- - - 5 Question to ask a potential Photographer - - -
Can I view the photos from a previous wedding?
Can I keep the book of proofs?
What would be the style of the photos (reportage, traditional)
What will you wear? (I've heard of a professional photographer turning up to a wedding in jeans and t-shirt)
What will you do if it rains?
Ask yourselves you like this person? Do you understand where they are coming from. A friend of a friend paid £4000 for a photographer, and hated all her photos because he told her she must not smile.Most photographers will keep the copyright of your wedding photos - this means they can publish your image wherever they like - on the side of their van. Speak to the photographer about what you can expect.
* * * THE CAKE * * *
Let you imagination run wild.
You can buy plain iced fruit cakes in Marks and Spencer's in various sizes. Or a clever Mum or Aunt could bake a chocolate cake, lemon sponge, fairy cakes or chocolate krispies.
Hire a Cake stand from your local baker for about £10 (or buy from Ebay £30-60)
You can buy ready-made sugar craft bouquets from a cake decoration shop. Or decorate with ribbons, fresh flowers, plastic bride and groom; the only limit is your imagination.
* * * WEDDING LIST * * *
I always hated the idea of demanding a list of presents but it saves so many repeated conversations and receiving loads of crap.
Its becoming more and more normal for couples to request money - but some guests still do not feel comfortable with this. So a few items on a wedding list will help you from receiving a pink fluffy toilet seat cover.
www.whattogive.co.uk you can list whatever you want - if you find it on a website you can link it to your list. You can email the link to your guests who can choose a gift it will then be taken of the list. Great website and best of all its free.
DON'T FORGET THE WEDDING RINGS
* * * FINER DETAILS * * *
* SPEECHES *
A lot of people get really nervous before doing a speech - consider having speeches before the food.
Why not ask the Mums to do a speech?
- - - 3 TIPS FOR THOSE SPEAKING - - -
* Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
* Use props, photos, PowerPoint presentation - draws the attention away from the speaker.
* Even if you mess up everyone is on your side don't worry
* DISCO *
If you want all the fancy lights, smoke machines, fog machines, and baby photos projected on the wall. These all cost extra- if you interested just in the music steer away from the wedding packages.
When you get quotes for the disco tell them it's a birthday party, it shouldn't make a difference to the price but it does.
Give the DJ a list of the sort of music you want to be played, and what you don't want to be played.
* FAVOURS *
I've been to a few weddings recently and only one had favours -the traditional sugared almonds - it was really sad to see the amount, which were chucked out.- - -5 ideas for cheap Favours - -
Home made fudge
Hand made soaps
You could choose to leave a gifts for the children like an activity book or some playdoh - this could stop them getting bored between courses. - - - 8 ALTERNATIVE TABLE DECORATION - - -
*Fruit baskets instead of flowers, get fruit cheap in large quantity's from the market, place in baskets or fruit bowls.
* Make the fruit sparkly. Beat some egg whites - paint the fruit with this - sprinkle with caster sugar
* Fill tall vases or goldfish bowls full of retro sweets like flying saucers or jelly babies
* A goldfish bowl with water complete with a couple of goldfish.
* Scatter photos of the married guests on the tables - your baby photos, your guests baby photos.
* Vase with just baby breath in looks chic, cheap and quick
* Elegant candle sticks - floating candles
* Flowers handpicked from your garden
* GUEST BOOK *
Guest books are so expensive for what they are. I prefer those with blank pages (I had some fantastic drawings by some of the children) some have pre printed boxes in so be sure to check inside before you buy.
You could buy a blank sketchbook, notebook some have a pretty cover or you could cover it yourself with some nice paper.
You could set up a video booth -people could leave you a video message.
* * * HEN PARTY * * *
You can have an amazing party at home - and cheaply If your friends make you wear a L-plates etc at least you won't be as embarrassed as if you had gone out on the town.- - 6 At Home - Hen Party Ideas - -
Cheese and biscuits
Ann Summers Party
Hire a naked Butler for the evening
Supermarkets may let you return any bottles of wine your guests don't drink (You can even hire glassware) set this up before everyone arrives - leaving your self lots of time to get yourself looking amazing.When your friends arrive be sure to introduce them to people they don't know
Let everyone help them selves to food throughout the night or you could hire a naked butler to serve your guests.
- - 2 PARTY GAMES TO BREAK THE ICE - -
- Split up into teams - each team chooses a bride - the rest of the team decorate her in toilet roll, which vaguely resembles a wedding dress and veil.
- Pass the parcel - wrap a up a prezzie - add lots more layers of wrapping paper - you could add dares, small gifts or retro sweets in the other layers. pass the Parcel around everyone when the music stop - that person opens a layer and so on. - - 5 MORE EXPENSIVE HEN PARTY IDEAS - -
Pole dancing lesson
Hire a limo to take you and your mates on a bar and club crawl
Quad biking day
Paint Balling - give yourself time for the bruises to heal before the wedding.
Some brides choose a Hen Weekend - don't be offended if everyone can't come- some may not be able to afford it, some won't be able to come due to work commitments.
* * * THE BIG DAY * * *
Remember to eat and drink.
Enjoy it - it will go sooo quick.
If things do go wrong - don't worry - they are plenty of people who will help sort it out.* * * HONEYMOON * * *
Wherever you go on your honeymoon it will be fabulous because you are on your honeymoon - it's a psychological thing.
Remember to say when booking flights hotels etc that it's your honeymoon, for upgrades and freebies.
Your work may give you extra holiday allowance - ask your HR dept.
- - - 4 Honeymoon ideas in the UK - - -
A cottage in the Lake District
Stay in a Grand castle in Scotland
I love Wales it so beautiful, how about camping?
Road trip in the UK, set a route to include things you want to do, Pony trekking, Punting, Painting, Picnics and Pubs
If you going further a field remember to get Visas and any jabs need well in advance
* * * ABOUT MY WEDDING * * *
We married in May 2006 after three months of planning; I choose a beautiful little church in my husband's parent's parish. The budget was small, as we wanted to spend our money on the honeymoon We decided on the most important things to us - I wanted to wear black, my husband cream. We wanted to drive away from the church in our VW campervan. Everything else we were prepared to compromise. I made the invitations, and all the other wedding stationary. We choose one bridesmaid my little sister and THREE best men, my husbands brothers. We let them wear whatever they wanted, as long as in wasn't black or cream. The Best men wore a brown pinstripe suits from river island - each wearing a different coloured skirt and tie, they split the duties between them but did a speech each. My Dad drove me to the church in his classic car. The church was tiny, which made everyone's singing sound a lot louder - We choose the hymns "Give me oil in my lamp" and "Plough the fields and scatter" husbands family are farmers Photos were quick as it just started to rain, which kept my husband happy, as he hates having hates having his photo taken. The reception was at a local hotel, not the grandest of hotels but the food was exceptional. Everyone was amazed at the quality. My Mum made a beautiful wedding cake, fairy cakes with sugar craft flowers (which matched my bouquet) with little bees (I collect bees) it looked and tasted amazing. She also did the all the flowers apart from my bouquet. I gave the DJ at the Disco a list of the songs we liked (and disliked) and we danced to 90' dance and Indie music We spent the night at home - in the morning packed our suitcases and jetted off the Malaysia that afternoon.
We both had a fantasic day and an amazing Honeymoon - I wish we could do it all over again.
As someone who is planning a wedding I found this very informative x
kristom 18.05.2007 22:53
I am a florist and was a bit disapointed that you were so brief with flowers but i am also a wedding planner and will give you 100% on your step by step plan hope you and your hubby are really happy Good Luck x
grapesoda 19.04.2007 22:19
This is a brilliant review, full of great tips and advice. x