Trying to get your head around the not-so-clear legalities and etiquette of weddings? Fear not! We’ve answered some of the most popular big-day questions in today’s insightful blog…
Wedding insurance – Do I really need it?
When you’re faced with cost upon cost you don't really want to be thinking about paying out even more for wedding insurance. But if you want to make sure your money is protected and your day runs as smoothly as it can it’s worth taking it out. Depending on the type of policy you choose your wedding insurance will typically cover things like your reception venue being double booked, your photographer not turning up on the day, or an accident in the main wedding party that prevents the wedding from going ahead.
Big-day budget – Who pays for what?
With wedding budgets escalating it’s good to get an idea of what you’ll need to save and pay out yourselves well ahead of your big-day. In today’s modern day wedding it’s fairly common for a percentage of the wedding costs to be divided between the two families. This may not be a 50/50 split, but it’s likely that both families will try to contribute and it’s something you should settle fairly early on in the planning process. If you’re worried that this may give your parents’ rights to how you should conduct your wedding, it may be worth going it alone and funding the day yourselves.
When it comes to attire for your ushers and bridesmaids there are no hard and fast rules but tact and consideration are key. If you can work the cost of their outfits into your budgets, that’s great. If not, you may want to go halves, or offer to buy the dresses while bridesmaids buy their own shoes.
Wedding photographs – What are my rights?
So you’ve got your wedding photos and now it’s time to submit them all to your favourite magazines and blogs… Unfortunately you probably can’t do this without getting the permission of your photographer first. The majority of professional photographers always retain the copyright to their images and will only licence them for various uses – typically just personal use.
Your contract with your photographer will sets out the terms of the licence, so it’s important that you understand what you can and can’t do with the images and discuss potential amends before signing on the dotted line.
- The photographer owns the copyright by default but will almost always give you a licence for personal use of the images, e.g. for printing
- To upload photos to social media you’ll need to ask your photographer for a licence to cover this. They’ll usually provide you with watermarked images for this purpose
- Images shouldn’t be altered. If you’d like some cool editing work on some of your photos you’ll probably need to go back to your photographer
Getting married outdoors – Can we choose our own special spot?
While a wedding in a dreamy summer spot sounds idyllic, it’s not always an option. For an outdoor wedding in England and Wales to be legal, it needs to a take place in a venue licensed for weddings with a permanent structure. Lots of wedding venues now offer licensed ceremonies under their permanent outdoor structures such as a summerhouse or pagoda. While these ceremonies are outdoors, they’re not out in the open air as such, or in a temporary structure such as a tent or marquee.
If your dream setting isn't licensed for weddings there are still ways to enjoy an outdoor celebration, you’ll just need to compromise. Although you won’t be able to sign the legal marriage documents, you can still hold your wedding ceremony in your special setting with all the traditional elements – exchange of vows and rings, readings, an “I do” and a first kiss. The only catch is that you’d have to get legally wed before or after this at your local Registry Office to make your marriage official.
Wedding guests – Do I really have to invite the whole family?
Not recognising or even knowing half the faces at your own wedding isn’t ideal, but with wedding etiquette changing in modern times you needn’t invite every great aunt and third cousin. Gone are the days of feeling obliged to invite everyone both you and your parents know. However, if you can’t say "no" to mum and dad’s desire for a big do, consider having an intimate wedding with your close family and friends and then follow this with a large reception in the evening.
Big-day catering – What exactly does it include?
Whether you’ve chosen a venue with in-house catering or a catering firm that offers a specialised service, such as afternoon tea, it’s important to understand exactly what is included and excluded in the final quote. Things you may want to keep an eye out for are:
- Linen, cutlery and crockery costs. Do they come as an extra or are they included in the price?
- Are there any additional charges for bar staff / waiting staff?
- Do costs differ for children / adults with specific dietary requirements?
- Do you have the option to provide alcohol? If so, what is the corkage charge and does it increase with the number of bottles you provide?
- Are there any extra costs for a paid bar? Does it come with a limit on the amount of alcohol you can provide yourselves?
Party music – Can we play whatever we want?
While it’s tempting to stick to playing your favourite songs and preferred genre, it’s important to think of the preferences and overall enjoyment of the whole wedding party. We’re not sure your grandma will appreciate grunge or strong dance beats as much as the two of you!
Variety is key to successful wedding reception, so mix things up and play a bit of everything – including the classics that all ages will know. Get some advice from your band or DJ and even get some input from guests. Also think about playing some songs for the older members of your party at the beginning of the night. At this time, most people won’t have even hit the dance floor and come late evening, your older relatives will have probably left, meaning you can play the real party tunes then!