EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about wedding planning

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your South Wales 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@yoursouthwales.wedding

Plan And Plan Some More

Plan And Plan Some More

Q What are your top planning tips?
A The Expert says: Allocate start and finish times for each key event of the day and allow time for overruns. The most important thing is to forget about everybody else on the day and enjoy yourselves. Whatever happens, you need to take it in your stride. Don't dwell on minor mishaps, but laugh at them. Never lose sight of the reason you are here: to become a married couple.

There is an order to the wedding ceremony, including how and when the guests should be seated and in what order your guests, bridesmaids, and you should enter the ceremony room. Have music playing on a decent stereo during the 30 minutes or so it takes for all your guests to arrive and be seated in an orderly manner. The procession often starts 10 minutes or so late (as is the fashion) but should still have a set time. Decide who is standing where and draw up the order and location of the bride, groom, and their respective 'attendants'. Stay organised and understand what happens when and what you need to get done in a timely fashion to ensure you aren't stressed on the day.

The Expert, Craig-y Nos Castle

Creature Comforts

Creature Comforts

Q What are your top tips for planning an outdoor wedding?
A Melissa Cullen says: Probably the biggest challenge you'll face when planning an al fresco wedding is – all together now – the weather! But if you plan, plan, and plan some more, you'll find ways around it, while still having the best open-air celebration you could wish for.

Make sure everyone's adequately informed. When you send out your invitations make sure you're clear which parts of your day will be celebrated outside, so that guests know to make their own arrangements, in terms of attire and protection. Keep an open line of communication with your suppliers too and collaborate with them on wet-weather backup plans. For example, at which point will you be prepared to make the decision to take it all inside? Who is going to be responsible for moving the whole shebang?

Check on the access to your venue. If you're tying the knot in a field, is there parking nearby? Are there accessible roads and paths to get to you? If not, have a think about how you can overcome these challenges. Perhaps you need to lay on extra transport from a local car park for example. Also, think about accessibility from a point of view about any less able-bodied guests you may have coming.

Sound tends to drift away in the open air, so make sure you have all the tech in place to ensure everyone can hear you as you say, "I do." You'll also need to check with the venue whether there are any restrictions on late-night music, as you don't want to be disturbing the local wildlife or residents! Also on the tech front, do you have all of the creature comforts in place such as loos and generators?

Have a think about what cover you want to provide for you and your guests. This is, of course, crucial for the comfort of all, not only in terms of wet weather protection, but also from the sun – we've had some scorchers in recent years. Once you've settled on a vibe for your nuptials, this should all become clear. An elegant, lined marquee is ideal for a classic wedding, whereas a tipi is the perfect choice for a boho or rustic vibe.

When it comes to styling, really take a look at your setting and plan ways in which you can complement it with your theme. Nature can do an incredible amount of heavy lifting on this front if you strive to work with it, rather than against it.

Melissa Cullen, Your South Wales Wedding

Help is at hand

Help is at hand

Q I'm feeling overwhelmed by the planning process. What are your top tips for creating a stress-free wedding?
A The wedding team says: It's not an easy task planning a wedding, and can be overwhelming at times, but the main thing to remember is to always put you both first. Don't let other people dictate your day, as it's your wedding and should be what you want and dreamed of. We recommend the following to have a stress-free planning experience:

Budget – set your budget as soon as you start planning as this will help you keep on track when considering venues and suppliers. It will also help you from overspending and getting stressed about money. Guest list – we know you want your nearest and dearest to celebrate with you, so set your guest list to who you want and don't be influenced by other people.

Your wedding package – make sure you know what is included in your venue package and if there are any hidden costs. Some charge extra for things such as chair covers, sashes and music systems.

Your wedding team – make sure you utilise your wedding team at your venue. Ask for advice or help for any little or big thing. For example, here at Craig Y Nos Castle, we offer planning tips and also recommended suppliers.

Your venue – do not be afraid to visit your venue as many times as you need to plan decorations, show your bridesmaids or your photographer. Sometimes visiting the venue can help you envision your day and help with the planning.

The wedding team, Craig Y Nos Castle

A special touch

A special touch

Q How can we personalise our wedding?
A The team at The Angel Hotel says: It's tradition to marry the person you love; to walk down the aisle in a long, white dress; to celebrate the 'formal' beginning of a new family with friends and relatives. However, it's important to recognise that weddings should reflect your style, your story, and your sentiments. After all, it's you and your partner's big day! While you may want to keep some of the classic rituals, you should not be afraid to give the ceremony your own spin. Here, we explore some quirky and innovative ideas that will allow you to personalise your wedding and make it a celebration to remember.

Modernise the wedding march: As mentioned, walking down the aisle is one of the most pivotal and emblematic moments of a wedding. The bride walks towards the altar and their groom as guests watch in awe and dab a few tears. Whether through a church organ or a string quartet by the sea, it is likely that Wagner or Mendelssohn's renowned wedding marches will accompany the emotional entrance. If you feel that the German composers' music does not represent your personality, don't be shy to pick a different tune.

Reinvent the exit: If you're changing venue after the ceremony, you'll have to find a way to make your way to your reception. Rather than sticking to the nearest taxi service, why not find an alternative means of transport to reach your destination? Depending on how far the place is, you can select the perfect solution out of a variety of options. Is the reception venue not too far? Hop on a tandem bike with your spouse and get pedalling towards your new location. Or would you rather have a classy ride to the banquet and wedding cake? Jump in a fancy, vintage car and temporarily wave off your guests in style.

No phones allowed: Another way to personalise your wedding day is to 'ban' phones. It's easy for guests to get distracted by their devices and fiddle on them all afternoon, rather than leave them in their pockets and properly enjoy the big day. You may want to put up a sign in the entranceway that encourages attendees to go unplugged – especially during the ceremony. With no trilling phones around, you will be able to create a more intimate atmosphere. What is more, they'll not be in the way to ruin your photographer's professional pictures.

Personalised card boxes: A creative, innovative touch you can add to your wedding is to put a personalised card box on the gift table.

Signature cocktails: Do you and your spouse like to sip cocktails from time to time? Do you enjoy experimenting with drinks and flavours? You may want to consider treating your guests with some of your signature beverages, whether on arrival at the reception venue or at the end of the meal.

The team at The Angel Hotel, The Angel Hotel

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