Don’t be conventional

1. Walk Down Memory Lane
Make the guest feel like integral parts of the day by incorporating them into the décor — in a gallery of meaningful photos. Why not hang pictures of the bride and groom with friends and family along the walk from the ceremony to the reception. It’s a fun cocktail party conversation starter.” As guests take a leisurely stroll and find pictures of themselves with you, they can reminisce and socialize.

2. Break the Ice Creatively
When you enter your reception for the first time as husband and wife, don’t just take a conventional arm-in-arm stroll. “Run. Skip. Dance. Swoop in on a rope swing! Brainstorm with your groom about the most creative, appropriate way to make a big impression. This is a great way to break the ice and set up for a fun vibe for the rest of the event.
3. Play Party Games
How about the menus being puzzles, so each person got one piece of the puzzle at their place setting, then everyone had to put the pieces together to get the full menu description. Crossword puzzles are fun for the back of a program or if you have guests going on a long bus ride to get to the wedding reception venue.

4. Be Entertaining
Guests always love the energy of a live band but tend to want to hear the original artist sing their favourite tunes. As a compromise, a bride may hire a dance band but also play DJ music during the breaks, or she’ll arrange to have live music during some parts of the event and recorded music during others.

5. Surprise them!
Love poems from a book makes a wonderful, lasting guest favour that’s much more meaningful that a bag of sugared almonds! If you buy in bulk, you might get a discount — contact your bookseller directly. And don’t forget to add a personalized bookmark thanking your friends and family for sharing your big day with you.”

Weddings on a budget

It’s easier than you think to save money on your big day. Here’s the first part with those easy peasy ways to keep to your budget during the wedding planning process…

Set yourself a budget

It’s essential to have a clear idea of what you can and can’t afford before you even begin any planning. With a strict, set budget you’ll be able to keep track of where your money’s going and you won’t end up overspending!

Prioritise

Before you start planning, think about what’s most important to your on the day. Plan to splurge only on the things that are really meaningful to you and your h2b, and save on everything else.

Simplify

It’s important that your day reflects you. Don’t try to plan an extravagant wedding if you don’t have the funds! Simple, elegant weddings can still be perfect and you won’t blow the budget. Remember – your wedding day is about sharing and showing your love for your partner, not showing off.

Shop around

Don’t rush into buying anything as soon as you’re engaged. Dress shopping is definitely a planning highlight, and it’s so easy to get carried away and end up buying the first dress you fall in love with. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the best offers and get an idea of different styles that are available. Likewise, get several quotes to make sure you’re getting the best price and research carefully so you don’t end up being overcharged.

Hunt for bargains

You don’t have to splash out on a designer gown if you don’t have the money. The high street has a great selection of wedding gowns and if you search vintage shops you may discover quirky and original finds for a fraction of the price.

Let your bridesmaids wear their own dresses

It can be a nightmare finding bridesmaid dresses that your girls all agree on. If you let your maids choose their own, not only will you cut out any dress shopping drama, but they’re also more likely to foot the bill at the end!

Create a salon at home!

You can still look and feel fab if you do your own hair and make-up. While getting styled by the professionals is a definite luxury on the day, if you’re used to doing your own make up, you’ll still be able to create a natural, beautiful look as well as saving money.

Just remember that it’s important to practise a few different styles before the big day to avoid any beauty mishaps! Why not book an appointment with a beauty consultant in a department store or go to a masterclass as party of your hen do?

Don’t turn into a Bridezilla!!!

We’re sure you already know that wedding planning has its ups, and its downs. Here are the signs that wedding planning has got a bit too much for you (it’s only temporary, promise!)…

Taking over your life

With it being a day that most brides-to-be have dreamed about since they were a little girl, it’s no wonder that it planning your wedding will take up a lot of your time. Even if you’re not actively out shopping for it or actively getting those DIY tasks done, you’ll find yourself subconsciously ‘favouriting’ all sorts of articles and shopping searches so you can come back to them later. Even your iPod that you plug in on the way to work is filled with ceremony classics to help you pick out your playlist.

The one becomes not the one

If you’re starting to question the magical feeling you had when you found ‘the one’, you’ve been thinking too much about it. When the dream-dress-doubt creeps in, it’s time to get a grip! It’s a common thing for brides to feel in the run up to their wedding – they want to look and feel their best after all – but get yourself through the doubting stage, and that magical feeling will return when you put it on. Then you’ll be wondering how on earth you ever thought it wasn’t the one!

Goodbye wedding diet

Sometimes brides and grooms-to-be fancy going on a diet or a mission to get into shape before their big day, and that’s okay! Healthy eating and taking up jogging is all around good for you and we totally recommend it to not only look your best, but also feel and be your best (but no ridiculous dieting please!). But when the stress kicks in, so do the carb and sugar cravings, and before you know it: your head is lodged in the back of the cupboard trying the find that secret stash of Mars Bars you hid away from the healthy-you. Oops.

Your friends stop contacting

Suddenly, conversation becomes just you talking. Why aren’t they replying your WhatsApp’s, texts, phone calls, Facebook messages, emails or tweets? Just why? Because maybe, just maybe, your predominant conversation topic – your wedding – is getting a little too much. Linking to the first point, just because it’s taking over your life (to a degree if you’re careful!), doesn’t mean it has to take over theirs. If you can’t think back to what you and your best girls spoke about before you got engaged, you’ve gone a step too far.

OR they’re constantly asking if you’re okay

Or perhaps you’ve got to the stage where you don’t want to talk about your wedding, in fact, you don’t want to do anything. Like any good friend, they will all be worried about the fact you’re not getting out of bed due to wedding-meltdown. When you actually do make it out of your dressing gown and slippers and go out, you’ll be jumped on with incessant questions like, ‘Are you okay?’, ‘I’m always here for you, you know that, right?’ and ‘If there’s anything I can do, will you tell me?’. If you’re at either of these stages with your friends – them either outright ignoring you or them overly anxious about you, it’s probably a good time to have a little break from planning, we think…

Can the honeymoon hurry up?

Talking of a little break: the honeymoon! You just cannot stop thinking about the honeymoon. The happiness of the thought of just utter relaxation and having nothing to worry about is so much that you even start to curse the wedding because it’s getting in the way of it! It’s the one obstacle between you and that sunbed.

You’re ticking all the boxes.

If you’re ticking any of these boxes of 10 signs that you are an un-cool bride to be, you only need a quick reality check and you’ll see the monster you’re turning into!

Wedding costs

Having a clear idea of your budget is essential for any wedding day. Sit down together, or with your parents if they’re going to contribute, and work out what you can afford to spend.

Write down the estimated costs in a budget planner.

As a guide, here are the average amounts that Brides readers spend. (Of course, it’s up to you where you decide to save or splurge!)

Wedding venue: £2,500

Reception venue: £4,000

Catering: £3,000

Photography/video: £1,500

Flowers: £500

Cake: £300

Entertainment: £700

Dress: £1,300

Shoes: £100

Stationery: £240

Headdress/veil: £100

Attendants’ outfits: £450

Mother-of-the-bride outfit: £300

Groom’s outfit: £300

Beauty: £250

Engagement Ring: £2,500

Wedding rings: £650

Other wedding jewellery: £200

Honeymoon: £4,000

Gift List: £2,000

Total: £24,890

If budgeting is a big concern, you may be interested in tips for setting your wedding budget.

Do It Yourself Stationery

Making your own wedding stationery is a creative approach that lets you design something to suit your day perfectly. Receiving an invitation that has been handmade by the bride and groom also feels extremely special. It’s a wonderful gesture, and the card can become a keepsake of the day. Do have a good think about it first, though ‐‐ it’s a time‐consuming process, so can either become an enjoyable part of your wedding preparation, or a major regret.

Is DIY stationery right for you?

If you’re thinking about making your own stationery, the first thing to do is to be realistic about how much you’d like to make, and how much time you have. If you’re having a relatively small wedding and have plenty of time, creating your own could be an excellent idea. If, however, you’re inviting hundreds of guests and only have two months before your big day, you’ll be better off sticking with a personalised range. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make other items of stationery. Don’t forget that as well as invitations, you might need place name cards, order of service sheets, menus, seating plans and thank‐you cards. Table names and menus are a simple way of having some artistic input without too much work, as you’ll probably only need to make 10 to 15 in total. Place cards can also be a simple way of being creative.

The benefits of creating your own stationery;

Perfect if you want to use your creativity and artistic skills to create completely unique designs

Getting creative is fun. Evenings spent with bridesmaids making cards can be a highlight of wedding planning

You’ll have the chance to create an unusual design or wording format that you might not find in a personalised stationery range

DIY stationery tends to be less expensive

Get creative

Have a practice run and see how long it takes you to make something. The key thing to remember is that you don’t need to make each and every item of stationery ‐ just one type is fine. It’s also important to assess your creativity. If you’re an artistic person, you might decide to try something relatively challenging. If the last piece of artwork you created was at primary school, now’s not the time to try your hand at the most complicated design you can think of. Simplicity is the key. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to create, start practicing and creating as soon as you can. The more time you give yourself, the more you’ll enjoy it. And remember, you can always rope in your bridesmaids for a fun night in making stationery with the girls.

Top tips for DIY stationery

Give yourself plenty of time ‐‐ the more time you have, the more you’ll enjoy being creative without feeling too pressured.

Have a look at wedding stationery offered online and on the high street to give you some ideas and inspiration.

Choose your colours and plan your design, taking into account the style of your wedding. If, for example, your dress is decorated with beading, you might use a bead style trim on your stationery. If your cake is adorned with feathers, you could incorporate feathers into the design.

When you have an idea for the design, make up a few different samples. This ‘testing’ session is crucial ‐‐ you can see exactly how the finished products will look and whether you enjoy making them before you buy enough for your entire wedding party. You’ll also know exactly what you need to put on your shopping list.

Before you even think about going shopping, make a detailed list of what you need. You don’t want to waste money by buying too much, but you also want to make sure you have enough (allowing for a few mistakes along the way). Paper, glue, glue dots, trims, ribbon, envelopes, pens, place cards, ribbon and card might all be on your list.

Create an area at home and get organised. You need to give yourself plenty of room and have a working system. If possible, choose an area where you can leave your stationery out and don’t have to pack everything away every time you finish.

Try and find some willing helpers (such as the groom, bridesmaids, family and friends) and don’t be precious about doing everything yourself.

Make sure your guests know the time and effort you’ve put into making the stationery ‐‐ a handmade invitation or place card by the bride herself is something they’ll treasure, so write ‘made by …’ on the back.

Consider making a special design for the members of your wedding party.

Be sure to make an extra set to keep for yourself to put in your wedding photo album or scrapbook.

Mehndi Ideas

No Asian bridal look is complete without the age old tradition of mehndi and we can see why. Not only does it signify happiness and good luck, the designs you can choose from are breath-taking. Whether you’re a fan of the bold traditional designs or prefer the more contemporary style, the choices are endless. We run down our favourite mehndi designs, from the simple to the more challenging patterns.

Detailed Bridal Mehndi

Inspired by Indian and Arabic cultures, detailed designs, which include motifs, bold flowers and illustrations have been around for hundreds of years and are perfect for any bride wanting to stay true to traditions. If you look closely you will see the mehndi artist has beautifully incorporated an illustration of a bride and groom. This is one design you don’t want to do yourself. The intricate work is best left to a professional mehndi artist. For an added special touch jazz it up a little by adding glitter and coloured rhinestones to match your outfit.

Contemporary Mehndi Patterns

As with any look, you don’t have to stick with tradition. You’re free to experiment and express who you are and your mehndi is a great way to do this. For brides wanting a contemporary mehndi all you have to do is give the traditional look a modern twist. Instead of covering your hands completely, take a pattern you like from a traditional look and use it to cover only half of your hand. This is a beautiful and clever way of emphasising the pattern making it eye catching, elegant and modern.

Mehndi patterns for your feet

Don’t forget your feet, ladies! Just like painting your toe nails to match the colour on your hands, mehndi has the same effect. You want to make sure the pattern you used on your hands is the same as your feet. Again, don’t be afraid to step outside of the box of tradition. Pick a style and make it work for you!

Unique mehndi ideas

Finding unique and fun ways to use mehndi is a growing trend. We love the idea of using mehndi to emphasise your ring finger. Not only does it look great on its own, but when paired up with your wedding rings, the look will be super chic and unique.

Mehndi on your back

One of the reason we love mehndi is because it’s not just limited to your hands and feet. If your wedding dress or blouse has a low back, use it as an opportunity to be a little adventurous and adorn your back with a beautiful mehndi pattern to compliment your outfit. You can be as simple or as bold as you want. This is feminine and sexy at the same time, perfect for a sanjeet, mehndi or hen party.

Mehndi for your bridesmaids

If your bridesmaids are wearing the same outfits then the perfect accessory to complement their attire is mehndi. Find a design they will all like and one that works well with the overall style you want for the girls and you’re done! Not only does it look great in pictures but having the girls round for a mehndi party is a fun and a great way to de-stress before the big day.

How to Dry Your Bouquet

The bouquet is an essential part of the traditional wedding. Many brides, and even bridesmaids, have a special attachment to their bouquet, for often they’ve had them specially made. Of course they want to preserve them as a keepsake! These days, many brides choose to have a bouquet made of artificial wedding flowers so that they can keep it without as much hassle, but for those brides using fresh flowers, here’s how to dry your wedding bouquet

A dried bouquet makes for a beautiful memento of your wedding day. It can become a beautiful work of art for your home—hung or mounted on display, placed in a vase, etc.—and if you buy your bouquet with the intention of keeping it, make sure you ask your florist for advice on which flowers are best for drying and preserving.

Your bouquet can be dried professionally, or you can do it yourself. Generally, small flowers dry better than larger flowers, but most foliage doesn’t dry very well; you may need to peel away some of the leaves. Also, flowers shrink as they dry, so your finished bouquet will be smaller than the original. It’s recommended that you use a sealant designed for dry flowers to get the best results. Before drying you have to ensure that your flowers are completely free of moisture, like dew.

Method 1 – Hang To Dry

Step 1: Bouquets look best when they’re dried upside down, for this allows them to preserve their shape. To do this, you need a warm and dry space where your bouquet can hang undisturbed for anywhere from a few days up to two weeks.

Step 2: Remove any fresh foliage/leaves before you hang your bouquet. If you want to dry a few leaves, set them aside.

Step 3: Remove all of the ribbon and wire from the bottom of your bouquet, and then put it back together again with a large, strong elastic. Wrap the elastic first around a third of the stems, then twist and wrap around half of the remaining stems, and then again around the rest of the stems. This will keep your bouquet together as the stems shrink.

Step 4: Hang your bouquet in the warm, dry space, and check its progress in a few days. Keep it away from direct sunlight to preserve its colour.

Step 5: To dry the leaves, you need to place them flat on an airy surface (like a screen, or even a tennis racket!) and cover them with a newspaper. This will weigh them down and prevent them from curling up as they dry.

Step 6: Your bouquet is dry when the flowers feel stiff, and the stems snap easily.

Once your bouquet and the leaves are dry, tidy it up in case it’s lost its shape, and reattach the leaves. It’s safe at this point to use wire again to hold it together, and some florists even recommend using a hot glue gun to permanently attach the leaves and the stems to each other.

Your newly dried bouquet is fragile, so the final step is to spray it with protective coating to preserve it further. Just make sure you always read the guidelines on the product you choose. Most commonly prescribed sprays are

Dried flower spray – this is a spray that’s specially formulated for dry flowers. Some of these sprays are meant to be used periodically, and some just once. You may purchase this spray online or at florists and gardening centres.

Craft Spray – there’s a variety of clear sprays available for craft projects, and some of them are suitable for dried flowers. Most of the sprays will leave a glossy coating on the flowers, and may also alter the natural scent of the flowers, just as hairspray would.

Hairspray – add a light, even coating to your flowers when they’re completely dry. Please note that this may take away the soft natural scent of your dry flowers.

Method 2 – Silica Gel

Contrary to its name, silica gel isn’t really a gel but a sandy crystal substance that aids in the drying process. It preserves flowers in a much truer original form, and works by drawing any moisture out of the flowers while also preserving their colour and shape. The gel changes colour as it absorbs moisture, so you’ll know right away when the flowers are ready—this usually takes just a few days, but up to ten days for bulky flowers like roses. However, silica gel can be expensive. It involves several steps, which must be followed carefully to be successful.

Step 1: Take apart your wedding bouquet, removing all wires, ribbons, etc. (Make sure you take a picture of your bouquet to help you reassemble it later). Next, remove all parts of the bouquet that have gone soft or mushy (stems, leaves, buds etc.) as they are no longer suitable for drying.

Step 2: Cut off all stems, leaving only an inch below the flower head—the stems will be dried separately and then reattached, OR you can purchase green wire stems from a craft shop and attach those to the flowers instead of the real stems (or in case the real stems don’t dry properly). Hang real stems to dry (see above for “Method1 – Hang to Dry”).

Step 3: Take a large, deep container, and pour a one-inch layer of silica on the bottom.

Step 4: Arrange the flower heads on the silica gel, ensuring they don’t touch each other or the walls of the container.

Step 5: Cover the flower heads with silica gel completely, gently sprinkling it to avoid flattening the flower heads under the weight of the crystals.

Step 6: Cover the container and put it aside in a warm, dry place that’s away from direct sunlight.

Step 7: Check it in about four days. You’ll know it’s ready because the silica gel will have changed colour and the flowers should be stiff and dry to the touch. If they have any softness, cover them again and leave them for a few more days.

Step 8: When finished, empty the silica gel into another container and carefully brush any remaining crystals off the flowers.

Step 9: Once the flowers and the stems are dry, you can reattach them with hot glue using a glue gun, or by carefully pushing a length of wire inside the stem, and then into the flower head to join them together.

Silica gel can be used again and again for a variety of purposes, like keeping food or clothing dry, so don’t throw it out when you’re done, but preserve it in a sealed container for future use.

Finding a Fascinator

Stylish, dramatic and beautiful, fascinators are becoming a must-have addition to any wedding outfit, and, for the modern wedding guest they are a stunning addition to this season’s trends. So what are your options? Here are some top tips to help you find the perfect fascinator.

Large, colourful hats have traditionally always been the desired choice for a mother of the bride or groom. A trend resulting in nothing less than a huge hat-off between wedding guests determined to impress with stunning head-wear. Thank goodness then that the current trends have seen the fascinator come into its own.

What is a fascinator?

A dramatic headpiece often made from feathers, fabric, beads or flowers, attached to a headband or comb. They come in a huge range of shades and colours and tend to cost less than more traditional forms of headwear. You’ll find styles and shapes to suit every face shape or hair style.

Where to start?

A bigger shop is more likely to have a wide range of styles to choose from and it’s a good idea to take a swatch of your outfit along to match colours as well as possible.

Online stores are a fantastic starting point and if you are willing to take a risk you may even pick up a bargain on e-bay. However, it’s always nicer and less risky to try before you buy.

Go with a trusted friend and a digital camera so that you can try on lots of different styles and then have some thinking time before deciding what looks best.

Think about your hair style and how your chosen fascinator will complement your hair style and colour.

Bespoke or budget?

If you have the budget then go for a bespoke fascinator, a made-to-order piece in your chosen style and colour. Alternatively search for one-off creations in smaller boutiques and shops.

Happy head-wear hunting!

Honeymoon on a Shoestring

Honeymoon destinations will always be romantic just because you are together, so don’t feel you need to spend a fortune to have a wonderful time. With tips for how to spend less on your honeymoon, from all-inclusive packages to fabulous discounts to where to look closer to home, here are five fabulous honeymoon ideas in the UK and abroad

1. Olympic Lagoon Hotel, Paphos

All-inclusive honeymoons can be great value for couples looking for luxury without additional hidden costs. The Olympic Lagoon Hotel is a new and highly innovative five-star hotel in a truly fascinating resort. Featuring an array of sublime swimming pools and water features, this hotel has a premium all-inclusive programme with five fabulous restaurants and five bars to choose from. An island paradise and a unique hotel-within-a-resort concept featuring romantic facilities and services exclusively for adults.

2. Royal Palm, Mauritius with Beachcomber

The most prestigious of honeymoons can be booked for substantially less when you take advantage of latest special offers and deals. Said to be the finest hotel in Mauritius, Royal Palm is a tranquil haven ideally located on the sheltered north-west tropical coast. Stay in an elegantly decorated suite with a stunning sea view. This 6-star hotel by the sea is surrounded with pure white sandy beach, and offers the ultimate luxury honeymoon experience, boasting a choice of three pools, spa, sports centre and an award-winning chef for the finest in haute cuisine.

3. Greek Islands with Combadi

You could save hundreds of pounds by honeymooning for one week instead of two when you jet off to a hot climate just a short flight away. Combadi offers a holistic, eight-day honeymoon with a difference in a gorgeous coastal setting in the Greek island of Skyros. This is a honeymoon for couples who can choose to hide away from the rest of the world or join a vibrant community and take part in classes in yoga, paths to finding happiness, windsurfing and even trapeze. Courses are held outdoors by the sea, on stone terraces surrounded by pine forests. Enjoy the tranquillity of the bay during the hot daytime and then choose to attend local parties, lively discussions or events together each evening.

4. Wooldown Holiday Cottages, Cornwall

There are so many beautiful and historically interesting countries in Europe and surrounding areas, and while exploring far-flung shores can be wonderful, so is travelling closer to home. You could not only save money on travel but get an extra day or two of your honeymoon!

For those looking for a luxurious retreat closer to home with outstanding countryside and sea views, Wooldown Holiday Cottages offer cosy country cottages and ultra-modern apartment style barns with super-king size beds, spa baths, walk in rainfall showers, some even have copper baths in the bedroom to make your honeymoon that extra special!

Explore all Cornwall has to offer, from romantic walks together along part of the stunning south west coastal path, to the pretty fishing villages of Port Isaac, Rock and Padstow and take a stroll through the Victorian seaside town of Bude with Summerleaze and Crooklets beach. The world famous surfing beach at Widemouth Bay is not far away and offers the perfect opportunity to surf the waves before enjoying a candlelit dinner.

5. Gadlys Coastal Cottages, Wales

Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, near the beautiful Church Bay, Gadlys Coastal Cottages offer peace and comfort in a pretty rural setting near Church Bay in Anglesy, North Wales. A small delightful bay with rock pools and sandy beach and beautiful coastal walks it is an ideal place for relaxation or activity from boating, fishing, hiking, horse riding, windsurfing and more.

The newly renovated and extended Gadlys Farmhouse has gorgeous sea views, a traditional oak inglenook fireplace to enjoy a warming log fire, master bedroom with balconette overlooking the sea, relaxing spa bath, all within five minutes’ walk from the beach and fantastic seafood restaurants.

Under Your Wedding Dress

What are you planning to wear under your wedding dress? A pretty matching two-piece, sexy Basque lingerie or maybe shapewear to hold you in? Consider your wedding dress style, body shape and remember to factor in comfort. Here are some pointers to help you make the best choice when it comes to choosing underwear to wear on your wedding day and how to avoid doing what I did when I accidentally flashed mine at all my guests in church…

When you’re wearing a bridal gown, whether a heavy duchess satin meringue with layers of underskirts or a slinkier number, it’s important to find the right underwear. So where do you start?

Here’s what to consider;

How to support and make the most of your bust whatever size you are

Where to find the right bra if your gown is strapless or backless

Whether to wear tights, stockings and suspenders or hold-ups

What style of knickers for comfort and/or style

How to flatten your tummy and shape your hips to create smoother lines under your gown

How to narrow your waist to create more of an hour-glass figure

Whether to wear a garter or not

Bra and knickers

A bra and knickers (or just the knickers) is likely to be the most comfortable option. It’s worth trying on several different types of bras with your wedding dress before you decide on one, considering how it feels as much as how well it supports and how pretty it looks.

The good news is there is an underwear solution for every gown, whatever the cut. You can find strapless, backless, multi-way, low-front and low-back bras, bras to support, maximise or minimise or push-up breasts to create cleavage. You don’t have to wear white either; with the right dress you could wear a pastel shade or even a darker shade of underwear, only to be revealed on your wedding night.

Strapless and backless bras

Strapless dresses are still very much in vogue and many are gorgeous and flattering but they do differ greatly in their construction. Some are made with inner support for your bust while others will need a good strapless bra to be worn underneath.

Backless or low-backed gowns can be worn without a bra for the few of us who are brave enough but a clever multi-way bra is, for most of us, a much better option.

Knickers or G-string

The knickers you choose have to be comfy. Don’t be tempted to try something different on your wedding day such as the delicate derriere dental floss fashion’ of the G-string, just to impress the man you have already impressed

If you’re used to G-strings then fine but if not, trust us, this is not the day to try one out for the first time.

Basques and corsets

A sexy alternative to the separates is a one-piece Basque or corset. Some will support your bust and pull in your waist and tummy but not all so it is worth trying these on with your gown, ideally before buying. Most come with suspenders attached, just add knickers and stockings. You could look stunning in the right corset or Basque.

Shapewear

If you want a flatter tummy, slimmer hips and/or a lifted bottom then consider shapewear. It can make a real difference and doesn’t have to look like a Bridget Jones wet suit. Shapewear is not all beige, some is now silky, lacy and sexy as well as shaping.

Garters, stockings, tights and hold-ups

You don’t have to wear anything on your legs but nylons can make your shoes more comfortable. There are pros and cons as tights can be hot (and arguably unsexy at the end of the night) while sexier stockings can be fiddly with suspenders and hold-ups can feel tight and don’t always hold up all day.

If you don’t mind suspenders then stockings are a good option and one your groom will enjoy helping you take off at the end of the night. Wear a garter if you want to – when will you ever get to wear one again?

Why brides wear a garter

Are garters a thing of the past? A recent poll had a mixed reaction. It seems some of you love them, while others think they should be consigned to the dustbins of history.

So how do you wear them and what should they look like? Garters are often ivory and blue silk, satin or lace – ivory to match your dress and the pale blue to be your ‘something blue.’ They come in old fashioned lacy Edwardian or racy contemporary styles in all colours and widths, with ribbons or crystals or, if you’re superstitious, a lucky 6pence in a matching bag stitched to the garter. You can even get edible candy garters for the naughty child in you! Garters should be worn mid-thigh and were originally designed to hold up silk stockings by tying a length of silk or cotton around the top, before the invention of elastic, or nylon, or tights for that matter!

Garters for every size of thigh

For slim or sexy thighs they provide an ideal photo opportunity for the wedding album. And for sexy plus-size brides there are plus-size garters out there to fit every thigh. About a Bride offers plus-size bridal garters in dress sizes from 18-54. Yes 54! So there’s no excuse if you want to wear one!

Embroidered keepsake garters

Sweet Nothings Lingerie and Silk Garters both offer a bespoke service where you can have a garter made in your chosen style, colour and fabrics. A biker bride could have a leather garter made, another bride may prefer to have a personalized garter embroidered with her new married name and the date of her wedding to have as a keepsake long after the wedding.

Tossing the garter

These days many brides have two garters, one to treasure as a keepsake of the wedding, the other for her new husband to (ahem) ‘toss’ to the male guests at the reception. Traditional folklore has it that the groom removes the bride’s garter and throws it to his single friends after the wedding in much the same way that his new wife throws the wedding bouquet, but this strikes a startling image of a hapless male struggling to get the darn thing off. No, once slipped onto a sexy thigh, we think it’s better left there for your new husband to peel off later, much, much later.