Bridesmaids top tips for the big day

The bridesmaid’s role at a wedding might not be as clearly defined as the best man’s, but it’s just as vital. And from emotional support to practical assistance, your duties start long before the big day.

1) Check the Venue

You might be asked to help set up or make sure the placing is correct on the morning itself. Don’t worry about losing out on “getting ready time” — remember the bride is the only one who needs to look perfect, your help and support is much more valuable.

2) Getting Ready

Get dressed as quickly, quietly and efficiently as you can (the bride won’t thank you for hogging the GHDs or having a tantrum over a bad hair day) and take charge of any younger bridesmaids to ensure everyone’s dressed with hair and make-up done.

3) Act as Photographer’s Assistant

Before the ceremony, liaise with the photographer as well as rounding groups of guests up later on.

4) Attend the Bride

As well as walking down the aisle, hold the bouquet as she says her vows and arrange her train. Later, check she and the groom have champagne and canapés.

5) Public Speaking

More and more bridesmaids are making a speech, They’re also often asked to give a reading and the chief bridesmaid may be a witness. So be prepared to show the best man how it’s done.

6) Be Ready for Emergencies

Have a kit prepared, including lipstick, sewing essentials, tissues, baby wipes and blister plasters.

7) Get the Party Started

Make sure guests go in to the wedding breakfast when they should, and be one of the first onto the dance floor later.

8) Don’t Forget the Details

Check everyone has confetti, remind the bride to throw her bouquet (and make sure there are people to catch it!) — you can even help to distribute the cake.

9) Go the Extra Mile

One idea is to take the brides mobile phone on the morning of the wedding and not let her have to deal with any phone calls. Let her enjoy her morning and get ready without the hassle of having to answer calls.

Harmony singers

There is something so beautiful about close harmony  that they were hugely popular during the 1940s and 1950s and we are working on bringing them back to the forefront of entertainment. But how to choose the right harmony group for you? Well,  here’s a few excellent options below, and we’ve also thrown in a string quartet too..

Eden

Eden are an internationally renowned close harmony trio. Featuring superb choreography as well as stunning voices, the ladies perform a splendid repertoire of vintage classics from the 1930s and 40s as well as a few new tunes and original songs on occasion. Able to perform with a backing band and the group of choice, this superb close harmony trio are sure to impress at your wedding.

Manor House Music

Manor House Music consists of some of the UK’s finest wedding musicians, having performed for over 700 weddings, corporate events and private functions as a string quartet and string duo. We combine a high quality of musical performance with a large repertoire of dynamic arrangements and a desire to work closely with clients to ensure that every detail is just right for your event.

Berkeley Trio

Taking their inspiration from a host of genres including jazz, blues, swing, They pride themselves on their personal service from your initial enquiry to the day itself. Thy can advise on music for the ceremony if necessary and accompany a singer or your hymns. We can also entertain in most settings, inside or out.

They have various images that suit the formality of the occasion. We take care to liaise with staff at your wedding venue to ensure a superb presentation.

Nero String Quartet

The Nero String Quartet is one of the most sought after quartets in the UK and has been established for 13 years performing at over a thousand weddings and functions. They have also worked with professional orchestras (BBC Phil, BBC CO, BBC NOW, WNO, RTE, RLPO, Ulster, Northern Ballet Sinfonia) and have performed on luxury cruise ships including P&O, Fred Olsen, Saga and Cunard. In addition to their classical work, members of the quartet have also performed on TV, Film and Pop recordings, most recently performing on GMTV, Don’t Tell the Bride and Four Weddings.

 

You Tube Proposals

We thought we’d round up a few amazing You Tube proposals that really made our mouths drop. These are extremely impressive whichever way you look at it!

The Zip Line Proposal

It’s not often that you find a wedding proposal on YouTube that has incredible camera quality and video editing, which is why the Zip Line proposal is a must watch. Uploaded just two days ago, it features popular YouTuber Brodie Smith who hadn’t uploaded any Frisbee videos in the past 5 months. That was all to change as you can see in this video where he takes out his girlfriend Kelsey under the guise of shooting a new branded video. What transpires involves seven members of her family, tears from both and some fab interviews beforehand.

The Skydiving Proposal

How do you go bigger than a zip line? How about by jumping out of an aeroplane and proposing afterwards. That’s exactly what Austin did when he proposed to Catherine. Another couple that have an incredible amount of followers – 8.1 million! – we feel that this deserves a spot in the blog because hey, you don’t jump out of a plane everyday and because Austin is actually scared of heights. He only jumped out of the plane because this was Catherine’s wish for her birthday.

The Greatest Showman Proposal

There’s no doubt that The Greatest Showman has taken the world by storm since its release at the end of last year. The soundtrack is often on in our office and we are certain that it probably blares out of your speakers fairly often as well. Imagine Amy’s surprise when what appeared to half of Brighton turned up to her proposal in the form of a flash mob dance, whilst her boyfriend Harry came forward in the Hugh Jackman role. Cuteness personified!

The Lip Dub Proposal

A classic these days (it was recorded six years ago), but one we absolutely adore. Isaac’s lip dub proposal is daring because not only is he sitting his girlfriend in the back of a car as it drives off but everybody involved in this lip dub flashmob is actually a friend or family member of his soon-to-be fiancée. We are sure that you know relying on so many amateurs is a recipe for disaster but it works absolutely brilliantly here!

The Abseiling Proposal

We’ve had zip lines and skydiving so why not abseiling as well? Seth saved the life of Nicole when she was abseiling a year earlier – you could say that she literally fell in love with him – and a year later, Seth decided to propose in a similar manner! Too cute. There’s not much else to say about this one but we love the dawning realisation on Nicole’s face as she descends and every other member of their group is far away from her beloved.

 

Wedding Planners

There are a million incredible wedding and party planners, so when planning a wedding and hiring wedding planners, make sure that your planners do all the the things listed below. This will enable your big day and the run up to the big day to be as stressless a possible:

Certain criterias on your checklist should  include…

- Optional services, like day of planning, wedding PA’s, and complete planning. Making your planner available to fit your unique needs.

- Boutique and high style planners who have an artistic eye and stay current with the newest trends in weddings. No taffeta and puff sleeves for you!

- LGBTQ+and denominationally friendly and experienced services. Your wedding is all about you, your traditions, and your lifestyle.

- Openly communicative. Readily adaptable, with a wide range of vender relations. It’s important that your planner have good contacts so you can get the vendors that perfectly fit your vision.

- Easy to book and not so busy that your needs will come second to anyone else. Experience is necessary, but you have to be sure that you and your wedding is the main priority of the planner.

- Good value for money. Weddings aren’t cheap, but the right planner can save you quite a bit of money.

All of these criteria make perfect sense when choosing a wedding planner in London. It’s important that, ultimately, your day is stress free, fun, beautiful, and exactly as you’ve pictured it since you were a little girl. So here are our favorites to help you celebrate your special day in style!

 

Public speaking

Planning a wedding is the best day of your life if you are the bride and groom but there are many guests in attendance who are secretly getting more nervous as the day progresses. You see, there are a lot of people in the world who hate public speaking and unfortunately, a wedding is full of them. Whether you’re the groom, maid of honour or father of the bride, we’ve compiled a host of tips to help make your wedding speech the best one on the day.

Don’t Improvise

Sure, you may be funny in the pub with your mates but this is a big day and requires preparation. There can be a number of things you’ll want to say and there’s nothing worse than somebody given a microphone to speak, who ends up dithering their way through it. Don’t start planning it too late either; the more time you have to plan it, the better it should be. If in doubt, have a trusted friend read it over to you and offer advice.

Humour is a Must

This is primarily aimed at the Best Man as it’s their speech which is the one most people look forward to after the dinner. A few jokes are great as it makes the audience like you and once the laughter flows, you’ll grow in confidence as your speech continues. Again, if you’re unsure about some jokes, have a friend read them over. Most people know somebody who’s naturally funny as well; tap them up for possible areas where you can add in moments of humour.

Make it Emotional

Move from humorous anecdotes to more heartfelt contemplations on love and what the newlyweds have found. This blend of deep thoughtfulness and lighter moments combines to create a truly captivating speech.

Don’t Overdo It

Nobody wants to be sat watching a speech and urging it to end. Keep it clear and concise and ideally around about five minutes maximum. By all means pepper your speech with memories and hopes for the future, but by keeping it short and sweet, your speech will be remembered fondly for having no ‘fluff’ around the edges.

 

How to be a confident Bride

On your big day, you want to be a confident bride, not a bride that’s hiding away from her wedding guests and the photographer in the corner! Don’t think you can do it? We beg to differ…

Look the part

First thing’s first: if you’ll look the part, you’ll radiate confidence. It’s all about your posture, smile and eye contact. We don’t want to sound like your grandma, but stand straight and keep your head high! We doubt your hubby really had his imagination set on marrying the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Plus, it will do wonders for your back. And what’s more attractive than a gorgeous natural smile and genuine eye contact? Now, for how to actually feel confident.

Forget what the others think

Don’t go following trends or other people’s expectations just to make sure your wedding guests are happy on your big day. It’s YOUR day, and it’s about you and your husband getting married – you’ve got to show each of your personalities, not anyone else’s. Too many brides concern themselves too much with meeting other people’s expectations, from the wedding theme to that ‘dream wedding body’, which is extra stress that those brides just don’t need. If it’s not you, don’t do it!

Don’t overdo it

It’s not uncommon for brides want to take on as many tasks to do with the wedding as possible, if not all of them. You want to be in control of your perfect day, don’t you! However, don’t overdo it! Make the most of your hubby, your friends and your family – hand some tasks over to them to relieve yourself before it’s too late, and you start to resent wedding planning.

Take a break

No matter how much you think you have to do, it’s so important that you take a break from it all from time to time. We mean it! Don’t head home from work and head straight to your laptop to narrow down the different centrepieces you’ve got in mind – do something a bit different. Schedule in a date night for you and your hubby-to-be where wedding chat is totally banned. Nope, no mention of which colour napkins or what wine to serve. It’s will make you feel revived, refreshed and more ready to get back on it, we promise!

Get foody

Eating healthily is not just about losing weight, it’s about feeling great and at your best – aka feeling confident! A balanced diet, full of lots of goodness, is super important to your mood,  and we all want a happy bride, don’t we! Make sure you fight the bad binges that just make you grumpy and feel rubbish; pack your fridge full of good-for-you foods, and snack on fruit and nuts rather than that share bag of Doritos you’ve got in your cupboard…

Boost your endorphins

There are a number of ways to boost your endorphins, and yes, exercise is one. The idea of exercise might send a shiver down your spine, but we’re not necessarily talking hardcore cardio – even going out dancing with your friends can count! That’s not the only fun way to boost those endorphins either: laughter is a booster, music is a booster, and sex is a booster… even more reason to have that date night we talked about

Treat yourself

Just because of that wedding diet or wedding budget that you’ve got going on, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every so often. Yes, that means a little retail therapy or a sneaky Twix or Crunchie bar here and there. You should enjoy yourself now you’re engaged, not punish yourself by banning your favourite pastimes or treats. That’s no fun!

Relax

Planning a wedding isn’t all about running round and doing stuff – that’s just exhausting! You need the nights when you can run yourself a lush bubble bath, sit back and read your favourite wedding magazine. There’s no point in stressing and getting uptight over things that aren’t going to get done, or aren’t playing by your exact plan, because your wedding day will undoubtedly be the best day of your life – even if you’re getting a three tier cake instead of four.

 

Pets at Weddings

When planning a wedding couples involving their beloved pets are becoming an increasingly common trend. However, as any animal lover will know, pets can be unpredictable – which is something you do not want on the most important day of your life! Follow these tips if you’re thinking about involving your pet at your wedding.

This simple, yet very important step is easy to forget, but this is the first thing you should add to your ‘pets at weddings’ to–do list. Imagine showing up on your wedding day, with your four–legged friend in tow, and being told that animals are not allowed on the property.

If your venue are happy to accommodate your pet, make sure there is always a bowl of water and treats available and an easy exit if they start barking. Maybe take your pet to your venue before the big day so they’re used to it, as it’s a strange and new place for them.

Notify your wedding photographer that you’re planning to include your pooch in the wedding photos, as this will allow your photographer to prepare any fun photography ideas involving your pet, and will also allow for them to prep for any other details – like unpredictable pet behaviour, etc.

Always take into consideration the type of personality your pet has before giving them a specific role – are they excitable, aggressive or obedient? You may want to make your pet ring bearer, but think about whether your pet will enjoy this or will they find it a traumatic experience? You may assume that your pet will feel comfortable in the crowd but will they feel overwhelmed around 100s of guests?

Even if your pet is well–behaved and used to large crowds, there is no real guarantee that they’ll behave like that on the day. Being stroked, photographed or chased by kids can becoming increasingly stressful for your pet so make sure they can handle it before you involve them.

It is always worth informing your guests early on that you’re going to include your pet at your wedding. Provide this information on the save-the-date cards and again on the invitation, as this is a warning to anyone with allergies and it means they can plan in advance so they can still enjoy your special day.

There is nothing cuter than a pup in a tux or a cat with a bow tie, but make sure it fits properly and is comfortable so your pet can enjoy your day. It’s best to keep the accessories simple to avoid any pitfalls – a flower or little bow tie attached to their collar is a fun way to dress up your pet, and still looks super cute! Always double-check that none of their accessories are a choking hazard to your pet and that none of the flowers you used are poisonous.

Whilst it’s lovely to have your beloved pooch around your wedding day, it’s important that you allow yourself time to relax and not worry about them. Why not hire a pet sitter to be responsible for bringing your pet to the ceremony? Watching him during the ceremony / reception and taking them home before it gets too rowdy as the night goes on? That way you won’t need to worry about who’s feeding them, if they’ve got enough water and if they’ve devoured the wedding cake yet!

 

First Dance Songs

While this dance is probably the most momentous you’ll ever have, it will also be the first of many. It’s one dance at the beginning of the evening that will soon slip into a dance floor full of people partying with you, so relax. Yes, all eyes will be on you as you enjoy your first dance together, but in a lovely kind of way and not in the style of a Strictly judge.

That being said, there are a few golden rules when it comes to first dance song choices. Follow these and whatever first dance song you choose, you’ll love it.

Don’t rule out first dance songs simply because they are popular – they are popular for a reason! Of course it’s lovely to make your wedding unique, but there are other elements of your reception that allow you to do that. Plus, just because a song has been played for a hundred first dances before yours, it doesn’t make it any less personal or appropriate for the two of you, too.

In recent years, our featured couples have turned to Ed Sheeran’s songs above and beyond any other artist. Original? No. Perfect in style and sentiment? Absolutely.

Don’t be tempted to jump on the bandwagon of a trend on a day as significant as your wedding. You’ll remember this dance forever, so the first dance song you choose needs to stand the test of time. While it might sound oh-so funny at your hen do to choose ‘Sex Bomb’, come your wedding day you could regret it.

We’re not saying all first dance song ideas need to be slow, but you do need to think about how you’ll actually dance to the song.

We recommend at least a handful of evenings spent practising in your living room. Why not wear in your wedding day heels at the same time? You’ll make hilarious memories and feel natural but prepared come the big day.

 

How to Deliver a Wedding Speech

Everyone gets nervous delivering a speech, some people run better off the adrenaline and some people dissolve into a trembling mess. Those who get overly nervous can end up being too serious or lose track of where they are up to fairly quickly. Take our wedding speech advice into consideration and it should help to take the edge off.

Keep it simple

If you are a nervous public speaker, don’t try to run before you can walk. Crack a joke but don’t try too hard. Don’t hang too heavily on the punchline when your delivery isn’t guaranteed to land.

Tell a story

Speech advice 101: you’re making a speech, not a toast so your audience is expecting something more. If you are delivering a wedding speech, you are most probably going to want to share some anecdotes and happy memories. When writing your speech think of the journey you want to take your audience on and what the key messages you want to convey are.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

The more practice you get in, the better the delivery. You’ll know when your jokes are coming up and how you want them to land. If you are nervous, you will be counting on your memory to help you get everything out as you try to maintain a calm and composed exterior.

The more of your speech you can deliver without having to look at your notes the better. However, do keep some notes handy should you need a gentle reminder of what on earth you’re talking about.

Be yourself

You are only going to deliver this speech once so enjoy it, be yourself and let your personality shine through. You are delivering this speech because of your relationship to the newlyweds, not because you’re being lined up for a future presenter. Nobody’s perfect and delivering a flawless speech is tough. As long as you get your message across, be it a little nervously, everyone is sure to love it.

The toast

Finally, the toast! Don’t rush to sit down but rather, invite everyone to join you in raising a glass to the happy couple as you round off your speech.

 

Original British Weddings

Choosing a quirky, unique and statement Wedding Venue is a fundamental ingredient if you want to make sure that your big day stands out. To ignite your imagination, we’ve picked some of the UK’s most exciting, original and quirky wedding venues to inspire you.

The Caves, Edinburgh

Deep in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, weddings of 65 to 130 day guests and up to 450 evening guests can be held in the Caves, licensed for civil, humanist, religious and handfasting ceremonies. This unique wedding venue makes up the sub-structure of the 18th Century South Bridge: remains of the houses that pre-date the bridge, with the original terracotta floor tiles still intact, can be seen here. Steeped in Scottish tradition, there was once so much whisky stored in the Caves that it became known as “Whisky Row”.

Christie’s Bistro, Manchester

Christie’s Bistro is set in a Manchester city Centre building dating back to 1890 when it was constructed as the new Study of Education. For much of the 20th century it housed Manchester University’s principle science library. Now converted into a bistro, it is still steeped in the institution’s history and character, with portraits of previous vice chancellors gracing the walls and endless rows of original books and documents. A hugely popular wedding venue, the bistro is still used frequently by university staff and students.

Spitbank Fort, Portsmouth

If you want to feel absolutely exclusive — and a little out to sea — Spitbank Fort could be the ultimate choice. The definition of “quirky venue”, Spitbank is a gun emplacement built to protect the British fleet when Britannia ruled the waves. Today it is described as a “luxurious cocoon of indulgence, privacy and exclusivity”. With nine bedroom suites, a rooftop hot pool and sauna and a stylish Officer’s Mess for dining, the imaginative restoration offers wedding parties a unique taste of life at sea.

Hard Day’s Night Hotel, Liverpool

For fans of British music — and the Beatles — this is the ultimate wedding party venue: but Fab Four aside, this contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of Liverpool is worth considering even if you’re not Beatle maniacs. Couples can marry in the “Two of Us” wedding suite, celebrate in a private themed bar and function room, and — for a luxurious wedding night — you could book the McCartney Suite, which pays tribute to Sir Paul’s work in music and the arts, or the Lennon Suite, which features a stunning white piano against a white backdrop.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London.

One of London’s most exciting venues, St Pancras Renaissance offers the romance of a golden age of rail travel. A celebrated destination, on the lovingly revamped St Pancras station site, it sets the stage for “a wedding day laced with historic charm”. Embracing Victorian style and tradition, the passion that went into the hotel’s creation and restoration envelops wedding ceremonies here, as does the venue’s gracious version of contemporary London hospitality.

Altitude 360, London

If you want a wedding with a view, Altitude 360 could be the one. Based in Westminster, across five floors of Millbank Tower, you and your guests can savour 360 degree views of London. The venue is licensed for wedding ceremonies and receptions across all event spaces, and the views that will mesmerise your guests are just part of the experience; by day, sunlight pours in through wrap-around windows and glitters across white marble floors; by night, the shimmering lights of London create a spectacular backdrop.

 

Traditional Church Weddings

What are the legal requirements for a church wedding?

Most marriages require banns to be published before the wedding, signifying your intention to marry. These need to be read out in the parish where each of you lives, as well as the church where you’ll be married for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding.

If there isn’t enough time for this, you can apply for a license costing from £200, which you may also need if one of the couple isn’t British or lives outside England. In Scotland, you need to give 15 days’ notice with the local registrar.

Couples must be 18 to marry without their parents’ consent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or 16 with their approval. The ceremony must take place between 8am and 6pm, witnessed by two people.

In Scotland it’s legal to marry from 16 without consent and at any time of day, although you do still require two witnesses.

Can I get married in any church?

For a Wedding ceremony in England and Wales, you can marry in any church if you meet one of several conditions: that either of you has lived or attended services in the parish for at least six months, was baptized or prepared for confirmation there, that one of your parents or grandparents was married in the parish, or one of your parents has lived or attended services there for at least six months after you were born. If you’ve recently moved, you’ll be eligible to marry in your new parish too.

In Scotland, there are no residency requirements so you can marry in any church you choose. In practice, it may depend on availability and the individual minister who’s likely to want to meet couples who aren’t members of the church beforehand.

In Northern Ireland, one of the couple must be resident in the district where you plan to marry for at least 14 days before being eligible, unless you apply for a special licence

Do I have to attend church before I can get married there?

Not for a Church of England ceremony, although if your heart is set on marrying in a church where you have no connections, attending services for six months — even a single service each month — would allow this.

Are the rules different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Yes — Scotland in particular has different laws than England and Wales, while there are stricter residency requirements in Northern Ireland. Catholic churches also differ, for example, needing a dispensation if one person is not Catholic but not requiring the banns to be read.

How far in advance should I book a UK church ceremony?

Churches can become booked up several months in advance, so ask the vicar or church office as early as possible, especially for popular dates. Many churches won’t arrange weddings during Lent, although this doesn’t apply to Catholic ceremonies.

Can I use my own vows in church?

Not in England and Wales, where legally no part of the wedding vows can be changed. However it’s possible to include poems, readings or songs which have a special significance in the service, depending on the individual vicar. In Scotland, you can vary the traditional forms or write your own with the minister’s approval.