The real experts, when it comes to weddings, are those who’ve already tied the knot. They’ve been there, done it, and worn the dress, so to speak. So who better to ask for advice about the big day? Enjoy these pearls of wisdom from our real brides and grooms.
Money can’t buy the perfect wedding
It’s easy to get carried away when planning a wedding and blow your wedding budget. Lisa and Mark got married at Upwaltham Barns. They told us: “…it’s so easy to get caught up in lots of bits and want everything you see and before you know it, it’s all snowballed!”
To keep things in proportion, Katherine and David (Mythe Barn) advise spending “…more on what means more to you. Work out your priorities from day one and work your budget around that”. They say brides and grooms-to-be should make sure anything they plan to buy or hire is affordable in the long run: “…don’t get into debt for it (there are plenty of ways to make your wedding both gorgeous and affordable)!”
Katherine and David © Pixies in the Cellar
Of course, one of the ways to save money is DIY. Lorraine and Luke, told us, “Don’t be afraid to do things yourself and customise things to suit. It’s ok to be different.”
Shopping around is also essential for sticking to your budget. Lisa got married at Upwaltham Barns and recommended trawling the internet for bargains: “Every time I found something I loved, I would Google the hell out of it until I found the cheapest price!”
See tips for managing the cost of your wedding from Money Advice Service.
Choose your venue and suppliers wisely
Think carefully when it comes to choosing your wedding and suppliers. Ask lots of questions when you visit wedding venues to make sure it’s right for you. And research your wedding suppliers; say Cat and Alex (Bassmead Manor Barns): “…they make a huge difference to the whole feel and smooth-running of your big day. You want them to share the day with you, rather than it be disjointed and separate”.
Cat and Alex © Neal Houghton Photography
This advice is especially important when it comes to choosing your photographer, says Katherine and David (Mythe Barn): “It goes by so fast that you don’t have chance to appreciate everything; “that’s another reason to have a great photographer like we did. They can capture your whole day beautifully, so you don’t miss anything!”
Remember, it’s your wedding
Trying to please friends and family is one of the pressures many wedding couples face. But all our brides and grooms to be recommend staying true to yourselves: “Do what YOU want to do. It’s your special day - so stop worrying about everyone else,” says Michelle and Adam (Bassmead Manor Barns)
Michelle and Adam © Jade Sayers Photography
Sometimes, keeping your cards close to your chest is the best option, like Hannah and Rob (Mythe Barn): “We didn’t tell anybody anything about the wedding preparations apart from my Mum, who helped us organize it. The more people that know things, the more hassle you get; it was a lovely surprise for everyone!”
You can never do too much planning
It’s surprising how wedding planning can catch you out. That’s why many of our real life brides and grooms advise pulling out all the stops when it comes to planning. “We put in a lot of effort up front and didn’t leave anything to chance”, say Victoria and Rory (Redhouse Barn) “Of course, there were the little things that threw us a curve ball, but as we’d done the hard work at the start nothing went majorly wrong.”
And what seems like a little detail could be really important later: “Get wedding insurance early,” advise Elly and Greg.
The internet has made it easier than ever to plan a wedding, especially websites like Pinterest. “Pinterest is a god-send!” say Lisa and Alan (Clock Barn). “With most people having smart phones, the app is at the touch of a button and can be viewed at any point and ideas ‘pinned’ within seconds!” These wedding planning tools from Google could help you keep on top of your arrangements too.
Lisa and Alan © Adam Prosser Photography
Use your contacts and ask for help
Your wedding is ‘your baby’ and it can be hard to let other people in. But many hands make light work, as Hannah and Nicholas (Bartholomew Barn) explain: “The best thing we did was have a plan for the day before the wedding and we gave people chores to do. There is a lot to do so don’t be afraid to ask your friends or family for help”.
And make the most of the talented people you know, say Elly and Greg: “Take one thing at a time initially, nearer the date get your multi-tasking hat on
Use your contacts and resources; if you know someone who can bake, design invites, has a creative mind…call them up!”
Take time out on the day
Every bride and groom will tell you their wedding day flew by. “The day goes so quick. I remember speaking to our photographer and thinking it was only about 3.30pm when it was 7pm!” says Kate, who got married at Curradine Barns. So how do you make sure you don’t ‘blink and miss it’? “Make sure you take the time to spend at least 10 minutes alone with your wife/husband, as you will find you will be chatting to so many people you won’t have time to enjoy being together,” she advises.
Kate and Steve © Paul Willetts Photography
Lisa and Alan (Clock Barn) recommend doing the same: “At different points, step back, take a deep breath and take in what’s around you”.
Relax and enjoy it
It might be easy to say, but this is your once in a lifetime day. So forget worrying about the favours or the flowers and just have fun. “Remember that above everything else, you’re doing this because you have met the person you want to spend the rest of your life with - so enjoy it!” say Victoria and Rory (Redhouse Barn).
“Enjoy it and stay calm,” says Hannah (Mythe Barn). “I think I was the most chilled out bride on the planet. What is there to be nervous about? You are walking up the aisle to be with the person you love!”
We’ll let Kate and Steve, who tied the knot at Curradine Barns, have the last word: “Try not to worry IF something goes wrong. It more than likely won’t, but IF it does, relax, it’s not the end of the world, and to be honest, you probably won’t even care at this point. Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Make sure you remember the reason as to why you are getting married in the first place, and your day will be perfect! Ours was!”