Expert advice about wedding planning

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your East Anglian Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@youreastanglian.wedding

To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.

Wedding Planning

 

Leading ladies

Leading ladies

Q. I've been living with my boyfriend for a while now and as 2020 is a leap year, I'm thinking of proposing on February 29th as I've been told it's the traditional day for women to take the plunge. Is that right?

A. Grace Flynn says: Grace says: There's a traditional mindset that proposing is mainly the responsibility of the man but, according to research by social dating app True View, the truth of the matter is a whopping 69 per cent of men rather like the idea of their girlfriend getting down on one knee. So, when is a good time to do it? That's tricky, after all in the spirit of female empowerment I'd say anytime is a good time to take control, but if you've got your heart set on tradition, February 29th is historically the day for women to take the plunge.

There are various theories about where this concept originated from. Some suggest that it dates back to Scotland, in 1288, when Queen Margaret supposedly enacted a law allowing women to propose on leap year day as long as they were wearing a red petticoat to signal their intention. Any bachelors who turned down hopeful women on this day had to offer up a consolation prize, like a kiss, a silk dress or gloves.

If you're considering popping the question, you certainly won't be the first to do so. In fact, you'll be following in the footsteps of many celebrities, pop stars, singers and famous people. Queen Victoria asked Prince Albert to marry her in 1839 and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor proposed to all nine of her husbands, although they weren't leap-year proposals.

The truth is, if you're the kind of person who's happy to take over the reins, you're unlikely to be the type to be bound by convention, so really the whole year's your oyster. What is important however, is making sure the time is right to take the next step.

Grace Flynn
www.uffordpark.co.uk

 

Five-point plan

Five-point plan

Q. I said 'yes', what now?!!

A. Caroline Gould and Victoria Ewing says: Caroline and Victoria say: Firstly congratulations, you're about to embark on an exciting journey planning your wedding. Here's our top tips to help get you started:

1. Set a realistic budget
You may have already put money aside for your special day, now is the time to think about how much you feel is reasonable to spend on all the different elements and keep at least five per cent back as a contingency. It may also be worth setting up a dedicated bank account for your savings. If you set your budget right from the start, it will be much easier to stick to.

2. Draft a guest list
It's difficult to book a venue (and ultimately set a date) if you don't know how many people you want to invite. Some venues may only be licensed for a limited number and you don't want to cram everyone in. Likewise, you wouldn't want 60 guests to be lost in a room big enough for 300.

3. Must haves
You'll both have ideas on what you want for your wedding day. Now is the time to talk and agree on a few 'must haves'; things that are important to you both so you can prioritise.

4. The theme
The best way to pick your theme is to scour bridal magazines and research online for inspiration. Start collecting pictures of the things you like, don't worry whether they match or not. Create files of your favourite cakes, dresses, flowers, colours and other details. Once you've started to build a collection, a theme will soon start to emerge naturally.

5. Get help
Planning the big day is a LOT of work, you'll need some help either from a professional wedding planner or friends and family. So assemble your wedding team now and spread the workload.

One final bonus tip! Communication is key, if you don't tell your suppliers what you want, they can't provide it. Be up front and clear about your budget and do your research to find the right suppliers for you.

Caroline Gould and Victoria Ewing
www.thewedplanners.co.uk

 

Keep calm & marry on

Keep calm & marry on

Q. We're just starting to plan our wedding for early November next year and are feeling a little overwhelmed. What are your top tips.

A. Natalie Solanke says: Natalie says: If you've decided on a theme or just a colour, run with it. Don't be afraid, this is your time to really create something beautiful and special for you as a couple. Work with your suppliers; they can really help bring your ideas to life. Autumn is an amazing time of year to marry, with all the warm colours starting to come through in nature you can really capture the full romance of the season.

Don't be scared to ask questions either, no matter how big or small they may seem. Planning a wedding is very personal; the industry professionals that surround you during this time will only want the best for you and to create an enjoyable day for everyone involved. Also, on the big day, make sure you take some time out for just the two of you, even it it's only 15 minutes, so you take it all in.

Natalie Solanke
www.nataliesolankeweddings.co.uk

 

Guilt-free sparkle

Guilt-free sparkle

Q. We're having a summer festival wedding and want to have plenty of glittler and sparkle and enjoy the outdoor setting, but without harming the environment. Is this possible?

A. Emily Jo says: The rise in popularity of outdoor weddings, means there has to be increased awareness and consideration on how to minimise any environmental impact.

Being based in Norfolk, we're surrounded by wildlife and nature, and it's inspired us to think more about the world we live in and to be as eco-friendly as possible. We have therefore made it our mission to source biodegradable, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly products. A small, yet potentially significant change, it's important to understand that it's not essential to make huge sacrifices in order to make a difference when celebrating your wedding. So, if glitter and sparkle are a must for you, here are some tips to help ensure that not only you and your guests smile, but the planet smiles too.

- Check the small print and ingredients before you buy eco-friendly products to make sure you really understand what it means.

- If in doubt ask if the glitter is plastic or plant-based, and opt for natural where you can.

- Biodegradable is a must, whether it's glitter or confetti.

- Avoid single-use plastic; there are many alternatives available now.

- Check the ingredients and content of any products labelled vegan-friendly.

Emily Jo
www.facenglitz.co.uk

 

Spread the joy

Spread the joy

Q. We've just embarked on planning our wedding day and want to make greener choices where we can. What would you suggest to make a difference?

A. Tara Canning says: Supporting suppliers close to home is a great way to not only boost the local economy, but will also reduce the carbon footprint of your day in terms of delivery and transportation of goods and services.

Try to go plastic-free where possible, such as swapping plastic straws for paper or metal ones and opt for bottles of water; you can even get resealable cans. Try to choose seasonal food and fresh cut flowers rather than imported produce, to cut down on air miles. Natural confetti is another great option; ours is picked by hand from our gardens, farmland and nursery, to cause minimum disruption to bees, insects and other wildlife caused by machinery. With no dyes or perfumes, it's completely biodegradable.

Tara Canning
www.mitre-farm.co.uk

 

Green days

Green days

Q. We want our wedding to be as green as possible, where do we start?

A. Evangeline Wells says: Here are a few of my top tips to help make your big day as eco-friendly as possible:

- When looking for your dream venue, it's important to ask plenty of questions about their environmental policies to ensure they have the same values as you. You can cut down on mileage by hosting your ceremony and reception under one roof and by having it at a hotel, you and your guests can stay overnight, avoiding extra travel.

- If you're marrying locally, arranging a bus or coach to transport family and friends to the wedding will reduce the carbon footprint of your day as well.

- Think carefully about which suppliers you choose. Picking locally-based ones minimises the distance they have to travel. It's also important to be aware of where things are coming from. For example, if you order something online, make sure it is not being shipped from the other side of the world.

- Having invitations made from recycled card is another great tip.

Evangeline Wells
www.uffordpark.co.uk

 

A dream come true

A dream come true

Q. We're on a tight budget for our big day. How can we have the wedding of our dreams, without breaking the bank and counting the cost afterwards?

A. Evangeline Wells says: A little ingenuity can go a long way towards bridging the gap between your bank balance and the wedding you have your heart set on. My advice is to:

- Firstly, shop around. Compare prices while weighing up value for money against quality.

- Speak to friends, search through wedding magazines and social media and ask people for recommendations. Not only will you get a sense of what's out there, but this is also a good opportunity to gather ideas and look for money-saving alternatives.

- Try to work out what areas are worth cutting back on and which are best left to the professionals. In my experience a cake should be the remit of an expert and by serving it as dessert you can cut down the cost of the wedding breakfast. A professional photographer is also a sound investment, after all you want your photos to last a lifetime. However, do your research and see if they offer any special packages.

- Think about the date and time of your wedding. Some venues offer last-minute packages that can work out cheaper. At Ufford Park Woodbridge, we currently have a late-availability wedding package for £2,999 which is proving popular. You could also consider opting for a Thursday or Friday wedding instead of a primetime Saturday slot or tie the knot later in the day so you don't have to feed your guests twice.

Evangeline Wells
www.uffordpark.co.uk

 

A helping hand

A helping hand

Q. We've only just started planning our wedding and already feel like the cost is spiralling out of control. How can we organise everything and balance what we want with what we can afford?

A. Sadie Chivers says: Planning your dream wedding can be daunting and may seem like it will cost the earth, especially if you're unsure on where to start. Many people think that having a wedding planner is expensive, but not necessarily, especially if you find the right one. An established professional should be able to negotiate prices with their own trusted suppliers to bring you not only peace of mind, but get you the best deals possible without breaking the bank.

For time-poor couples, having one company to deal with throughout the whole process is also easier than paying a whole host of different suppliers. Mason's Great Event Co is a one-stopshop for weddings and we always make sure we're fully aware of what couples want at their wedding, the style they're looking for and the items they'd like to buy.

Keeping to a list of needs and wants, will help keep costs down and avoid waste on unnecessary buys. Then, if you have money leftover, you can always add extras on later. Never be afraid to ask suppliers if they can offer a discount either. Keep an eye out for deals, as often companies give major discounts for set packages and even bespoke ones too. Always ask for a full breakdown of the price so you can calculate exactly what you're saving. Finally the one thing I stick by the most is never be afraid to shop around and do a bit of bartering!

Sadie Chivers
www.scweddingandeventplanning.co.uk

 

Get the look

Get the look

Q. We're just starting out on the wedding planning, what key looks should we keep an eye out for?

A. Jonny Gleeson says: Extravagant flower arrangements, minimal succulents and leafy foliage are set to be one of the big trends for weddings this year. A beautiful and natural way to decorate your venue, couples are now investing a lot more in wedding flowers and plants, creating enchanting secret gardens and focusing on a cool modern feel. Love for miniature trees as decorative centrepieces looks set to continue and, based on the increasingly popular urban-jungle interiors trend, we predict this will continue to grow. Think quirky succulent arrangements and rustic terrariums.

Getting creative with the wedding stationery has always been popular, but recently this is being taken further with beautiful hand-crafted mini menus, table plans and keepsakes including gold foiling, wax seals, laser-cut designs, calligraphy and personalised monograms.

We've also noticed couples have become less traditional in their wedding planning generally, and particularly with their food choices with everything from Mediterranean feasts, including grilled monkfish and halloumi skewers, fresh salads and traditional baklava, to entire weddings themed around the British afternoon tea.

Jonny Gleeson
www.bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk

Kings Lynn Town Hall
Flora Laura Flowers
Woodhall Manor
Bressingham Hall & High Barn Wedding Show