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When should you start planning your wedding?

Posted in Weddings

This is it – you’re getting married! But, after that last bottle of champagne has been polished off and you’ve received the inevitable truckload of well-wishing cards, when should you start planning your wedding? As you’re about to find out – 12 months before the intended date is the answer.

Which means you’d better get cracking! So, stop asking yourself how long after getting engaged should you start planning your wedding, and get that to-do list created!

Let’s get straight to the point – planning your wedding, not matter how big or small you intend it to be, can be a stressful affair. You’ll worry about every tiny detail, toil over the guest list, fall out aplenty with your soon to be wife or husband and, on at least one occasion, wonder whether it’s all really worth it.

Well, of course it is. In this blog post, we’re going to provide the definitive guide to planning your wedding. So, if you’ve ever wondered how long after getting engaged should you start planning the wedding, or have asked yourself “where do I start when planning a wedding?” – we’ve got the answers!

12 months before the wedding

When should you start planning your wedding? After all, it seems like a long time before you’ll be walking down that isle, doesn’t it? Only, it’ll be here before you know it, and with that in mind, there’s one thing you’ll need to nail pretty quickly – the venue.

How far in advance do you have to book a wedding venue? The answer to that question is as far out as possible. Thousands of people get married every year, and wedding venues remain in high demand. You may have one in mind already, or are yet to scout them out, but it really is time to get on the phone and make a reservation if you’re to avoid a last minute panic.

Don’t bog yourself down with too many choices for the venue; shortlist two or three and start talking dates as soon as possible.

It’s at this early stage that you also need to start thinking about bridesmaids, ushers and the best man. The earlier you can confirm their role in your big day, the less worry you’ll have about telling people further down the line.

How long before the wedding should you buy your dress? Well, you can start your wedding dress research at this time, too. With twelve months ahead, you’ve got loads of time to pick the perfect one and start saving a little bit extra if you happen to find ‘the one’ which is slightly out of your budget.

When should you book your wedding photographer? Now. Just like the venue, the best wedding photographers will be in very high demand, and these are some of the most important photos you’ll ever have taken. The last thing you want to do is draft in your mates at the last minute because you forgot to organise a professional in time.

You can spend these early months of wedding planning deciding the type of entertainment you want for the big day, too. Providing you have the wedding venue booked, you’ll have a good idea of the type of entertainment you can bring in – be it a band, DJ or some other form of evening festivities.

Lastly, this is the time to start sending out Save the Date cards. The earlier you can get them out, the more chance you have of ensuring the people who are the most important in your lives get to come; you want to grab that date in their diary before their summer holiday or their own wedding gets booked, after all!

10 months before the wedding

You’ve got your venue sorted and the big stuff is well underway in terms of planning and preparation. Now, you can look to refine some of the details and make some more bookings.

When thinking about how far in advance should I book my wedding, you’ll soon realise that certain elements need fairly quick attention. The DJ or/and band are classic examples. If you’re set on the type of entertainment you want, now is the time to get those bookings made. Ten months out should do it, but the sooner the better if you want to guarantee the perfect soundtrack to your reception.

When should you buy wedding rings? Now is as good a time as any. Although it’s unlikely you’ll have to wait for a significant period of time for them to be sized, the sooner you find the perfect wedding bands for the two of you, the sooner you can tick that particularly important box.

wedding-rings

It’s important to remember this wedding is for the two of you, and a big part of it is the honeymoon. Depending on what you plan on doing for your honeymoon, ten months out is about right when it comes to ensuring you guarantee the booking you want. If you’re heading abroad, it’s best to treat the booking like a holiday, which most people would probably do this far in advance, anyway!

Back to the day itself, and at this stage of your wedding planning process, it’s sensible to get the cake booked and begin contacting decor hire companies who will be tasked with kitting out the place in which the ceremony will be taking place and the reception venue.

6 months before the wedding

Wow – those first six months of wedding planning literally flew by, didn’t they? This is what tends to happen; time moves at an ungodly pace when you’re planning the biggest day of your life. Thankfully, though, you’ve already nailed a lot of the most crucial details.

Remember when you were asking yourself when should you start planning your wedding? Well, with just half a year to go, you can start tying down some of the key elements that you’ve simply been researching up until now.

If you’re yet to do it, get that wedding dress ordered now; six months really is about the limit for a lot of bridal shops, who often view orders after that time as ‘rush orders’, and an additional fee may apply.

wedding-dress
Check those passports! If you’re heading abroad for your honeymoon (or the wedding itself), the last thing you want is a last minute panic when you realise one or both of your passports has run out. You could also use this time to begin planning some excursions and activities while you’re there – that’ll be yet another box ticked that you may have otherwise forgotten.

It’s time to have some fun, too, therefore if you haven’t started yet, now is the time to begin planning the stag and hen parties. Or, more accurately, time to ask your best man and bride of honour to start planning them for you! Just make sure the dates for the dos are sufficiently far from the wedding day itself to aid recovery!

4 months before the wedding

When should you start planning your wedding? Gosh – it already seems like an age ago since you asked yourself that question, doesn’t it?

Gulp. It really is getting near now. But don’t fear – you’ve still got plenty of time to sort out the last few items on that great, big to-do list!

Bridesmaids dresses are a little easier to source than wedding dresses, thankfully, which means you can leave it until about now to get them sorted. And, regardless, it’s an excuse for a day out with the girls and some much needed retail therapy.

The men should get onto their attire at this stage, too. Whether you’ve decided on morning suits, three pieces, two pieces or even casual attire (hey, why not?!), four months out from the big day should ensure that you get the pick of the bunch at the hire shop.

Florists will happily talk to you at this stage, too – it shouldn’t be any trouble for them to have four months to prepare for your wedding; any sooner than now and there will probably have been a more urgent task that was forgotten, after all.

The wedding party needs to get to the venue, obviously, and with just a few months to go, it’s a good idea to start organising the transport. You should find plenty of options for car hire if that’s the route you’re going down, but if you’d rather use the services of a family member who has a nice motor, tap them up now to ensure they know how much time they need to set aside on the day to get you to the venue on time.

A trial trip to the hairdressers is a good idea at this stage of your wedding planning. This will give the bridal party the chance to ensure they’re happy with the style and the stylist the opportunity to try out some different options well in advance.

hairdresser

Lastly, now really is the time to sort out any legalities surrounding the wedding. This might be the boring stuff, but it’s vital, because you’ll need to give at least three months notice to the registrar, and the church will have similar requirements for reading your weddings banns, if that’s the route you’re going down.

2 months before the wedding

Thankfully, you’ll already have guaranteed the attendances of the most important people, but with two months to go, you can start sending out invitations to the evening do. Your wedding will have a limit on the number of people who can attend, so make sure you pay attention to whatever that is, and ready yourself to be let down by a portion of those who say “yes, we’ll come”.

If you didn’t order your wedding rings when we suggested, don’t worry – there’s still time. Get yourself to a jewellers, and explain the need for a quick order. Most will happily oblige, and it shouldn’t take long for you to find the perfect wedding bands for you both.

It’s time to buy the smaller, more easily attainable pieces of clothing, too. So, get shoe shopping and start hunting down those important accessories, bow ties and hair pieces. Just remember to allow a little longer for delivery if you’re ordering online.

Two months out is also about the time most people will head to the venue to try out the menu. There’s still room for manoeuvre if you’re not happy with it, and this is yet another excuse to get yourselves out of the house and enjoy a night of being spoilt by a great chef.

2-3 weeks before the wedding

Time to cap off some of the finer details!

Get your first dance request (plus any others) sent off to the DJ, and make a list of must-have photographs for the photographer. Both will really value being given these in advance, rather than on the day.

You can also make some last-minute adjustments to table layouts and room decor at this stage if you need to, while also reviewing the final RSVP list to get a feel for exact numbers on the day.

A wedding rehearsal will also usually take place at around this time. If you’re in church, this is vital, but most venues will also suggest that a dry run-through of the ceremony is also required. Just keep those tissues at the ready!

1 day before the wedding

Here we are; one day to go. This is it. You’ve nailed your planning and preparation and nothing – bar the weather – has been left to chance.

Today, you’ll need to drop off the table place cards, favours, table plan and any other smaller details at the reception venue, while sorting out payment for anything that is outstanding and ensuring the cake is ready to be delivered.

wedding-cake

The last task? Relax! Use your last evening as an unmarried couple to enjoy a drink or two separately with friends and get a good, solid night’s rest.

You’re done!

When should you start planning your wedding? As you’ll have noted, twelve months out is ample time – providing you follow our advice above. The trick lies in keeping yourselves organised and working from a solid to-do list.

Most importantly, enjoy your wedding planning. This is the biggest day of your life and it will be over in a heartbeat. Plan it strategically, however, and it really will be a day whose memory will never leave your side.

spring-wedding-picture

Top Tips For a Spring Wedding

Posted in Weddings

Spring remains one of the most beautiful times of the year to have your wedding. Not as hot as summer, certainly not as cold as the winter and every bit as pretty as the autumn, it’s the season during which you’re (almost) guaranteed a perfect big day.

However, just like any wedding, planning a spring wedding isn’t easy – unless you know the tricks of the trade. And, luckily for you, we do!
In this blog post, we’re going to list the most important tips for arranging a spring wedding that will make the very most of your big day during this wonderful time of the year.

Be prepared for rubbish weather

Ok, so we might have got your hopes up during the first paragraph and we’d forgive you for assuming you should expect great weather if you book your wedding in the spring. Unfortunately – and as you’ll know all too well if you’re a UK resident – that isn’t really the case. Chances are, Mother Nature will smile down on you on your big day, but it’s always best to prepare for the worst.

Make sure you’re ready if showers make an appearance, and don’t assume the temperature will be approaching summer heights; you may still need to wrap up warm.
Go topless with the transport

Dry skies permitting, the idea of arriving in a soft top vintage or sports car at your wedding as the bride (or groom!) is a dream for many, and spring offers the perfect excuse to indulge
in this form of transport.

Better still, why not go for a horse and carriage? During the spring, you can pretty much go for any wedding transport you’ve dreamed of previously!
Spring flower table decorations

To really bring your spring wedding alive, it’s a great idea to decorate the tables with spring flowers, polished metal and clear glass. This subtle, classic look will work perfectly during spring time, and the foliage will be a constant reminder of how lovely it (hopefully) is outside.

Colourful food

Food plays such an important role at weddings, and if you choose to have yours in the spring, you’ve got a wealth of options to pick from. Chiefly, you can focus on beautiful, colourful food that reflects the amazing colours generated by spring. Fresh fish, strawberries and cream and lighter garden greens are perfect spring wedding culinary delights that will look the part and taste delicious.

You can do the same with the drinks. Even though it won’t quite be summer just yet, why not go wild with cocktails and mocktails that feature the colours of spring? A chat with the bar manager at your venue will reveal just how creative you can get, beverage-wise.

Golden hour photography

One of the best and most underrated things about springtime weddings is the light on offer for photographers.

wedding-photo

They’ll of course know all about the golden hour, but if you don’t, it’s actually the most beautiful time of the day to get those all-important wedding photos taken. The golden hour takes place an hour before sunset and offers photographers the soft, warm light they crave to get the best shots. What’s more, this time of the day arrives conveniently during the spring; it isn’t too late or too early and the photography sessions can therefore be timed perfectly not to clash with any of the other festivities. You photographer should be more than adept at choosing the best location, but given that you’ve decided to get married in the spring, a nearby field in full bloom or the gardens of
your venue should provide the perfect backdrop for photos you’ll cherish.

The Stationery

Often one of the hardest and most arduous things to get right and arrange for a wedding, the stationery is sometimes put to the bottom of the list. However, if you’re booking your wedding in the spring, we’ve got some good news: you’ve got loads of choice and inspiration when it comes to wedding stationery! This includes your wedding theme (floral is a great choice for spring), the invites (get creative with the colours of the season), table plan (ditto) and the more mundane things like the photography list (so guests know where they need to be come that time).

A great photographer

We’ve spoken a fair bit about photography in this post, but that’s because we believe spring offers the best opportunity for stunning wedding photography.

tips-for-spring-weddings

Put simply, it’s too good an opportunity to miss out on! For that reason, it pays to spend as much as you can on a photographer. While you might have friends chomping at the bit to do some snapping during the big day (they’ll do this regardless, after all), diverting a good chunk of your budget to a pro will pay dividends. Spring undoubtedly offers some stunning options for shots (see ‘golden hour photography’ above), but it’s also challenging, with harsh afternoon light playing havoc with lenses and sensors. That is, unless you know what you’re doing! Staging group shots is also hard work unless you’re an experienced photographer, and, similarly, capturing the more subtle moments that often turn into the most memorable photos is only really possible if you’ve spent a significant amount of time behind the lens.

The venue

You can’t really have a great wedding without a great venue, can you?

spring-wedding-venue

And that’s why we’ve left this last tip until last. The choice here will very much be up to you. Whether you want a small affair in a local village hall or a more lavish spectacle in a large hotel, choosing the right venue for you spring wedding won’t be easy, but you’ll know when you’ve found it. Just think about the photo opportunities and the scope offered by the venue for outdoor entertainment if the weather does its job for you. It should also be suitably warm enough to go for a marquee if you feel that way inclined.

That’s it (sort of!)

We’re under no illusion; the above isn’t an exhaustive wedding planning list, but it will get you started and ensure your spring wedding planning doesn’t miss any of the essentials. Happy planning!

Why it’s a great idea to have an autumn wedding

Posted in Weddings

Hands up if you’ve been a guest at a hot, sweaty wedding during this summer heatwave?

There’s no getting away from the fact that summer weddings are magical – particularly when the weather is as good as it has been in the UK during 2018. But do you have to get married at this time of the year?

Of course not! In fact, if you’re planning on getting married, why not go against the grain and choose a different time of they year?

Autumn is fast becoming one of the most popular wedding seasons, and the reasons why are endless. Booking an autumn wedding in West Midlands hotels is a very smart idea indeed.

However, you might need a little more convincing, which is why we thought we’d list the key reasons it’s a great idea to have an autumn wedding, and offer some insight into how you can plan the perfect day at this stunning time of the year.

“Why an autumn wedding?” we hear you ask. Here’s a few reasons:

The weather

Let’s start with the obvious – the weather.

park-autumn

No matter what time of the year you choose to get married in the UK, you’ll be taking a risk with the weather. Even during a summer heatwave, you might be unlucky enough to pick the one day when the heavens open.

So, why pick Autumn instead? For a start, you probably won’t have to worry about an unexpected heatwave sweating out the guests, but it still won’t be too cold to spend some time outdoors for photos and canapés, either.

Autumn weather isn’t any more predictable than summer or winter, but it usually sets the temperature pretty much perfectly for weddings.

The best light

Ask any photographer which time of the year they prefer for wedding images, and they’ll probably say autumn.

There’s a period called the ‘golden hour’ which exists – you guessed it – an hour before sunset, and it’s when natural light is at it’s softest and most golden if the sun is out. That hour takes place much later during the summer and earlier come winter, but the timing is almost perfect in the Autumn.

It’s why so many stock wedding photographs have that ‘autumn glow’ to them, and because these images are ones you’ll want to treasure for the rest of your life, why not pick the time of the year that’s likely to give you the best possible setting?

The backdrop

While we’re on the subject of photographs, there’s no backdrop quite like that of an autumn scene. Autumnal colours are popular in all walks of life, and they can add magic and romance to any wedding.

The changing of the leaves and abundance of yellows and reds everywhere you look makes for the perfect wedding scene, no matter where you’re staging your big day.

Fewer people are on holiday

The wedding guest list is one of the hardest things to get right, but it’s made all the more difficult when certain guests can’t make it due to pre-planned holidays.

Couple holding hands while walking in park during autumn

Go for a summer wedding, and you’ll probably find that several key people simply can’t make it. The autumn is far more likely to result in less negative RSVPs, because most people will have had their summer holiday and be ready to settle in for the rest of the year.

What’s more, the long, hot summer will provide the perfect conversation buzz between guests as they all catch-up on their holiday movements and break the ice.

Flowers

Why have an autumn wedding? Along with beautiful autumnal colours comes some stunning flower options for weddings.

You’ll have more to choose from at this time of the year, from rustic oranges, reds and purples to deep plums and burgundies. You can add some additional interest too, with seasonal foliage, berries and seed heads.

When it comes to gorgeous flowers and captivating textures for a wedding venue, Autumn takes some beating.

No wardrobe headaches for you or the guests

What do you wear for a wedding when it’s boiling hot outside? Or, if you’re due to get married in January, how will you keep warm when it’s time to go outside for the photos?

How to dress for an autumn wedding is one of the simplest questions to answer!

Because autumn weather is relatively consistent in terms of temperature, you won’t be as restricted with outfits for the bridal party or groom. What’s more, guests can rest safe in the knowledge that they won’t have to bring a change of clothes to free themselves of their sweaty daywear, or numerous hats, coats and scarves to keep themselves free from frostbite.

Lower cost

Although not guaranteed, you might find that certain wedding suppliers will lower their prices a little if you decide to have an autumn wedding in UK. From photographers to suppliers of autumn wedding table decorations, you should have the pick of the bunch.

This is still an up-and-coming season for weddings, therefore if you jump in early and be one of the early adopters, you might just save a penny or two on key elements for your wedding due to suppliers considering it ‘off peak’.

How to plan an autumn wedding

autumn-wedding

Now we’ve hopefully convinced you that an autumn wedding is an awesome idea, here’s some quick-fire tips for planning the perfect big day:

1) Flowers. Go for burnt oranges, deep reds, and add in some acorns, chestnuts and wildflowers. Florists should be able to help you with the perfect autumn arrangement.
2) Food. Hearty food is usually the menu to go for at this time of the year, but it’s still pleasant enough outside to have a hog roast or BBQ if you fancy something a little more rustic.
3) Dress. There’s loads of choices for autumn wedding dresses, from classic turtle necks to cut-outs, but remember that you probably won’t need too much wrapping up due to the relatively mild weather. Autumn wedding bridesmaids dresses can follow a similar theme.
4) Groom outfit. Three piece suits made from wool or tweed are a great option for autumn, but the colours are down to you (you can’t really go wrong)!
5) Weather. Although you’ll probably be ok temperature-wise, still plan for the worst – i.e. rain!
6) Colour scheme. This is where you can tap into all that lovely autumn colour palette to really make your wedding venue come alive. Soft blushes and nudes for autumn wedding decorations against warm, classic autumn colours will work a treat.

Who says you have to get married in the summer or that winter weddings are the most romantic? Get planning your autumn wedding today and create a day you’ll never forget at the West Midlands’ most beautiful wedding venue!

perfect-wedding-schedule

How to create a wedding day schedule that actually works

Posted in Weddings

Ask anyone who has organised their own wedding day how it panned out on the big day, and they’re likely to tell you what an amazing time they had – despite the schedule quickly falling apart.

Late guests (and, sometimes, brides!), delayed food, unexpectedly drawn-out speeches and a desperate search for the groom minutes before the first dance is supposed to start are classic examples of how wedding day schedules can be so easily disrupted.

With that in mind, you’d be forgiven for thinking that creating your own is hardly worth it, but as with anything in life, if you plan properly and in good time, you’ll stand a much better chance of success.

Wedding schedules are no different – with one important caveat.

It won’t go completely to plan

Weddings are complex days that require all manner of key elements to happen at specific times.

Here’s just a few of the things you’ll have to schedule in:

  • Morning preparations (dresses, suits, make-up)
  • Pre-ceremony drinks at the pub
  • The ceremony itself
  • The photographer
  • The band and/or DJ
  • The photographer, again
  • The speeches
  • The first dance…

The list goes on, and we’ve only scratched the surface above.

So, how do you keep all this in check?

You start by accepting the fact that whatever type of schedule you end up putting together, it will only be a rough guide. For this reason, you should avoid timing things by the minute or expecting everything to happen bang-on time; it just won’t happen.

Instead, focus on the following brilliant strategies for wedding day scheduling, and you won’t go far wrong.

Start early

If you’re reading this post with just a couple of months to go until your wedding, all is not lost, but it really is best to start planning the schedule right at the start of the process.

bride-getting-ready

Do it as early as possible. A good six months out or more should work wonders in terms of giving you breathing space and ensuring all the constituent elements and peopl can be allocated their own time and plan ahead themselves.

Think logistics and map the day out

Probably the biggest factor when considering your wedding timeline is the logistics of the day itself.

There are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Where will the key people (bride, groom, etc) be getting ready – at someone’s house, the venue or a hotel?
  • Is the marriage ceremony and evening reception taking place in separate or the same locations?
  • Are you providing transport for everyone or just the main two people and father of the bride?
  • How long is the ceremony likely to take?
  • What time are you able to access the reception venue if separate?
  • If the ceremony and reception venue are the same, how long will the staff need to convert it from daytime to evening duties?
  • How long does the band need to set up?
  • What time are guests arriving in the evening and how many are coming?
  • How long will you need for photos?

Map the whole day out on a piece of paper and you’ll quickly start to see how it should pan out and the key things for which you’ll need to account and allocate time to.

Talk to the venue

It’s amazing how many wedding couples fail to have long enough conversations with the venue about how the day should pan out.

wedding-garden-party

Remember – the venue plays a massive role in your big day, and it’s therefore imperative that you find out all of the variables, potential complications and logistics they have to work on in order to make the wedding a success.

Ask about access, clean up time and how long they need to clear the wedding breakfast tables to make room for the evening’s entertainment – it might be longer than you think.

Build in some ‘you’ time

There’s no two ways about it – your wedding day will flash by, but it’s important that you schedule some time for just the two of you to get away from the madness, people and constant smiling and shaking hands to take it all in.

Book an hour’s ‘freshening up’ time after the speeches where you can retreat to your room, head out into the gardens or simply ask the wedding car driver to take you out for a spin in the countryside.

It’s your day, which means you have every right to want to get away for a bit and experience the day on your own for a time.

Don’t dictate the DJ

There will doubtless be a number of key songs that you and possibly some of the guests will want the DJ to play on the big day, but try not to dictate their night.

The best wedding DJs know how to work the crowd, and while they’ll be happy to accept requests before the day itself, they’re usually best left to their own devices.

You’d be surprised by how big an effect music can have on the schedule of your wedding. By trying to cram in too many personal favourites, the night might be drawn out and key party classics left out, or played beyond your designated finishing time at the end of the night (although, that’s not always a bad thing!).

Don’t shortchange guests on food

One of the worst mistakes you can make when scheduling your wedding day is not allocating enough time to the food.

wedding-cake

Don’t make your guests wait to eat; food will be high on their agenda after the ceremony, and in order to keep them all capable of lasting the night, a lining of the stomach can’t be ignored.

Food should play an important role in your day, therefore no matter what type of eating experience you’re planning, make sure it gets ample time during the day (and for evening guests, if you’re feeding them, too).

Send your agenda far and wide

Once you’ve penned your wedding agenda and you’re happy it’s 99% there, send it onto all of the important people.

That means the best man, bridesmaids, mothers and fathers, venue, DJ, caterers, and anyone else who is likely to play a major role in your big day.

The more people who have the agenda, the less chance you’ll have of things going wrong. And you might find that some of them will comment on certain timings; listen, if that’s the case – they might have a point!

Enjoy planning your wedding!

This is the biggest and one of the most important days of your life, but it’s also supposed to be one that puts a massive smile on your face for the duration.

By starting to plan your schedule now, and accepting that things might not go 100% to plan, you’ll be assured of a day without any major hick-ups, and one which everyone in attendance will remember for the rest of their lives.

Wedding_rings

Brides on their Wedding Day

Posted in General News, Weddings

The meaning behind what brides wear on their wedding day:

Why the Bride Wears a White Dress:

Although it may not seem like it today, brides wearing a white dress on their wedding day was not always the tradition. In fact, wearing white was frowned upon as some people believed this colour symbolised mourning, not love or unity. Therefore over 150 years ago, most brides wore red wedding gowns as it symbolised roses which have connotations of love and romance. It was actually Queen Victoria who inspired the idea of wearing white wedding dresses in 1840 when she wore a lacy white gown with an orange blossom wreath. Today, whilst people may choose to wear white on their wedding day because it’s tradition and they haven’t known otherwise, many people believe that white encapsulates purity and innocence.

Why the Bride Wears Her Wedding Ring On Her Left Hand:

Just like how a bride carrying a bouquet of flowers down the aisle dates back to ancient times, so does wearing a wedding ring on the left hand. Romans, specifically, believed that the vein in the fourth finger on the left hand (ring finger) led straight through to someone’s heart. Consequently, this vein became known as the “vena amoris” which is vein of love in Latin. Therefore it only made sense to put a ring on this finger as marriage epitomised the idea of love and romance between two souls and Romans believed this idea would be most prevalent if the wedding ring was placed on the fourth finger of the left hand.

Why Brides’ Wedding Dresses Have Trains:

Wedding dress trains were important hundreds of years ago because it symbolised the bride’s families’ wealth and showed that they were able to afford more costly materials. In this case, the more extravagant and longer the train, the wealthier the family was demonstrating themselves to be and most likely the higher their position in society was. It was also a case of the longer the brides’ train was the more formal her wedding was. However today, brides choose their train based on fashion trend and whichever one best suits them and the type of wedding they are having.

Why the Bride Carries Flowers Down the Aisle:

A lot of wedding traditions we have date back to hundreds of years and therefore have deeper and much more sophisticated meaning behind them than we may believe.  An example of this is when a bride carries a bouquet of flowers down the aisle as she walks towards the altar. Dating back to Ancient Rome, these flowers used to symbolise new beginnings and hope of fertility.  Greeks and Romans believed that the smell of these flowers would hopefully keep evil spirits away from the bride which then assured happiness and loyalty in their upcoming marriage. This idea became more modernised when Queen Victoria carried a bouquet of flowers filled with moss and orange blossom.  Different types of flowers have different meanings and are viewed as an expression of their love towards one another.  For example, Cornflower exemplifies prosperity and friendship which are two examples of things people wish to carry with them throughout their marriage.

 

Written by Angelena Randhawa | Wolverhampton Girls High School Year 10 student | Work Experience

Wedding Open Day

Wedding Open Day

Posted in Announcements, General News, Weddings

Join us on Thursday 14th June, from 4pm – 9pm, to view one of the most elegant wedding venues in the West Midlands. The Ramada Park Hall Hotel and Spa is a Grade II listed Georgian hotel set amongst five acres of landscaped gardens.

• Conference & Events Team available to discuss your requirements
• Various wedding layouts in all our rooms including the Park & Dudley Suite, The Orangery, and The Ballroom
• Capacity for up to 550 guests
• License for indoor & outdoor Civil Ceremonies
• 74 Guest bedrooms
• Newly refurbished reception and lounge area
• New Mirrors Bar
• Landscaped gardens
• Free parking

RECEIVE £500 OFF YOUR WEDDING IF YOU BOOK ON THE DAY
Minimum spend of £6000 applies

Call our Events Team on 01902 349549 for more details

summer-bride

Summer weddings: 8 reasons it’s best to tie the knot during the summer

Posted in Weddings

With the summer finally approaching, you probably have a wedding or two to attend.

You may also be planning your own wedding, and if you’re wondering whether or not you too should opt for one during the summer months, here’s ten reasons it might be the best decision you make:

1. The days are long (and, usually, warm)

You have a lot to pack into a wedding day, and if the day is short, you’ll miss the best light for those all important photos.

Equally, there’s nothing worse than shivering guests, and at least they’ll be able to stay out longer partying if the day stays warm long into the night.

2. More people can probably attend

Pick the right date during the summer, and you should be able to avoid losing too many people from the guest list.

Weddings that are held during school terms or when people are particularly busy at work can be troublesome for the people you invite, which is why most prefer to attend a summer wedding.

3. You can host it outside (if you’re feeling brave)

Although the British weather isn’t what you’d call predictable, you do at least have a greater chance of staging your big day outdoors if you hold it during the summer.

That opens up a wealth of options, including marquees or ceremonies that take place without any cover whatsoever, and the results can be far more romantic than being cooped up in a registry office.

4. You’ll get a better selection of flowers

summer-wedding-flowers

This one is pretty simple; if you hold your wedding during the summer months (i.e. between June and August), you’ll get your pick of the best flowers.

5. Brides have a wider choice of dress options

Get married in the winter and the wedding dress choice will need to take into account lower temperatures.

Get married in the summer, and you don’t need to worry about this at all. A dress without sleeves or straps, and no need for emergency coats or scarves suddenly become real options.

6. You’re blessed with colour

Summer is full of beautiful colours, which makes your choice of flowers and decorations eminently easier.

summer-bride-holding-flowers

Whether you hold your summer wedding indoors or outdoors, the abundance of colour will make for a bright, cheerful backdrop.

7. You’ll have plenty of time to plan

Before summer comes long winter months, when you’ll be stuck inside during the evening with little more to do than plan your wedding.

With no summer sun to tempt you outside, that means you’ll have a boat load of time to plan the perfect summer wedding.

8. Home honeymoons become an option

Sure, there’s nothing better than the thought of flying off to a far-flung honeymoon destination, but if you fancy something closer to your doorstep, a summer wedding opens up the possibility of taking yours in the UK.

This can save big time on the overall cost of the wedding, and with so many wonderful, romantic places to explore in this country, why not?

Wrapping up

Have we convinced you to have your wedding during the summer? If you’ve enjoyed reading the reasons above, it could be the perfect season to tie the knot!

winter

20 winter wedding tips

Posted in Weddings

There are no rules when it comes to choosing a date for your wedding. Fancy putting Mother Nature to the test and booking it in the middle of summer in the hope of a beautifully hot day? Go for it!

What about combining the festivities of Christmas with the most important day of your life?

Today, we’re going to focus on winter weddings, because it’s a time of the year that can make for an utterly magic, romantic day that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives together. Without further ado, here are twenty simple but highly effective tips for ensuring your winter wedding is as perfect as it should be:

1. Pick just the one venue

It’s common for marriages to take place in two venues; perhaps a church for the ceremony and then a hotel or purpose-built venue for the reception.

In winter, however, the less travel the better. To avoid your guests having to deal with bad weather too often, see if you can pick a venue in which you can get married and celebrate afterwards.

2. Allow for extra travel time

Winter weather is never particularly kind when it comes to travel, therefore allow plenty of extra travel time for everyone to get to the venue, no matter how close or far it happens to be.

3. Add extra candles for light and romance

Candles are a common fixture at weddings, but with nights drawing in and darkness arriving sooner, extra candles are a must.

The trade off is that your wedding will be even more romantic than it might have otherwise been; you can never have enough candles, after all!

4. Choose winter wedding colours

Dark, warm tones such as Burgundy, red, black and gold will add a rich feel to your big day.

Try and mix the above with extra wintry colours such as natural greenery. A hint of tartan won’t go a miss, either.

5. Make someone the master of coats

This might sound a bit odd, but remember that almost everyone will arrive wearing a coat. They all need to end up somewhere, and to avoid the coats being left haphazardly everywhere, it’ll need a bit of organisation.

The master of coats’ job will be to ensure they’re safely filed away somewhere at the venue (you could even add name tags into the mix if you’re feeling brave).

6. Keep guests warm

Readily available hot drinks and an agreement with the venue that the heating will be regularly checked and maintained at an optimal temperature will help keep guests warm.

Also, if you’ve opted for a marquee, don’t skimp on the heating!

7. Invest in winter wedding favours

Pashminas, sparklers, blankets, mulled wine, cookies and candy canes are great examples of winter wedding favours guests will love.

If Christmas is just around the corner, a miniature bottle of Baileys on the table for every adult guest will go down a storm, too.

8. Don’t be afraid to schedule outdoor activities

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to forgo outdoor activities.

Providing people have somewhere warm to retreat to afterwards, there’s nothing wrong with staging outdoor games or winter BBQs to get them outside for a bit.

9. Check the venue for Xmas decorations

If Christmas is nearby, you might want to check the venue for Christmas decorations.

Unless you want that kind of theme for your wedding, the presence of festive decorations and trees may detract from your big day. Ask nicely if they can be removed during your time there.

10. Buy winter accessories

Faux fur veils, capes and chic cardies are great options when it comes to winter accessories for the bride.

Don’t forget long-sleeved wedding dresses, either – a great option for this time of year.

11. Think velvet blazers for the men

The guys need to keep warm too!

When it comes to the groom, pageboys and ushers, opt for velvet blazers or similar. Basically, anything that is on-trend and features thick fabric to keep them warm and looking stylish.

12. Don’t forget winter beauty prep

wedding-ring

Mother Nature has a habit of being rather unkind to our beauty regime when winter hits, so make sure you’re prepared for her wrath.

Chapped skin and dry lips are inevitable, so keep a chapstick handy and use plenty of face moisturiser throughout the day (this goes for both the bride and the groom).

13. Remember tights!

There’s no getting away from it – beneath that dress you’re probably going to need to wear thick tights to keep yourself warm.

The good news? No-one will ever know!

14. Opt for stylish winter footwear

Footwear plays a huge role on the wedding day, but it’s also one of the most practical considerations you’ll have to think about.

During winter, boots are a great choice, but don’t be afraid to go flat if the terrain demands it. The last thing you want is sore feat on or after your wedding day.

15. Go mad with glitter

What’s more festive or wintry than glitter?

Weddings usually feature glitter, but during the winter, you really can go mad. Opt for sequin or glitter dresses that will chime perfectly with the season and look fabulous in the photos.

16. Keep bridesmaids warm

Bridesmaids tend to do a fair bit of standing around during the service – particularly when it comes to the photos, so make sure they’re nicely covered up whenever they have to brave the elements.

Cover-ups are easy to hide during the photos and just as easy to slip on when having to wait around.

17. Be careful with photography timing

Winter means long nights, and that can be something of a problem for photography.

This means you’ll probably have to get your photos done as early as possible. Speak to your photographer; they’ll want to shoot them during the ‘golden hour’ most likely (the hour before sunset), so plan the day as much as you can around those all-important snaps.

18. Watch those heels!

If you decide to opt for heels on the day, make sure you keep another option handy (remember the boots we mentioned in tip 14?).

Bad weather might result in treacherous pathways, and if your photographer wants to get some snaps of you against a wintry field backdrop, the last thing you want is your heels sinking into the mud.

19. Keep those hands toasty

Gloves. Don’t forget gloves.

Perished hands never look particularly nice in wedding photos, so opt for stylish gloves to keep you both warm and looking fabulous.

20. Always have a brolly (or two) nearby

umbrella

Beyond the cold, there’s usually plenty of rain to contend with in the winter.

But don’t fret – there’s nothing you can do about this almost inevitable part of a winter wedding. Instead, be prepared and have a brolly or two on standby. You won’t regret it.

Wrapping up

Winter weddings are fabulous, and with our tips above, you’ll ensure yours goes off without a hitch and results in memories that will stay with you forever.

You may not need every tip we’ve listed, but keep a close eye on the weather, survey your intended venue and make a list of the things you’ll need to do come your big wintry day.

How to handle the guest list for your wedding

Posted in Weddings

It’s one of the hardest things you’ll encounter during the planning phase for your wedding: the guest list.

It starts off a relatively fun task; who are you going to invite? Imagine that room full of people you know and love, all celebrating your big day! How exciting!

Soon, however, realisation dawns – you’re going to have to make cuts; the catering budget will only stretch so far and that means you’re going to have to disappoint certain people.

Fear not, for we’ve got the ultimate, pocket-sized guide to handling the guest list for your wedding!

 

Divide and conquer

Wedding guest lists only get messy if you dive head first into them without a plan. And the best plan for a list of this kind is to start divvying it up before you write any names down.

Broadly speaking, you can categorise the people who will be there:

  • Close family
  • Close friends
  • Distant family
  • ‘Loose’ friendships
  • Work colleagues
  • Friends-of-friends

With that list in hand, you can start assigning names to each category – and it’s easier than you might think.

Do it together

wedding-band

Don’t undertake the guest list on your own. Whether you’re the bride or groom, you need significant input from your partner if you’re to get this right and avoid upsetting one another.

It’ll probably cause a few arguments, but that’s healthy – it’ll help you whittle the list down properly.

Be realistic

Keep that budget in mind. You’re not made of money and one shouldn’t forget that the day is about the couple getting married.

It’s up to you who makes the guest list, and that calls from some pretty robust thinking about the people you want to spend a significant amount of money on during the day in order to keep them fed and watered.

Set some rules for cuts

wedding-cake

Some people aren’t going to receive an invite to the ceremony. Some won’t even receive an invite to the day at all.

Sucks, eh?

To make this process fair and structured, set some rules for cuts. Look at your categorised list and decide if the following can sway your decision:

  • When was the last time you spoke to the potential invitee?
  • Do you want young children to make up a significant portion of the guest list?
  • Does one of you have an intense dislike for someone in particular?
  • Are you inviting someone because you feel you should (i.e. you went to their wedding)?
  • Are you inviting someone out of guilt for a misdemeanour?

Go on – make those tough choices (the list will never decrease, otherwise).

Don’t let others wear you down

bride

While the wedding list is something you should create collaboratively, you must avoid involving third parties – even if they’re extremely close to you.

There’s nothing worse than bowing to the whims of a parent or sibling who insists that Mr and Mrs X must attend your wedding. You’ll regret it – trust us.

Final thought

wedding-party

Remember – this is your list. You create it, which means you make the decisions and tough choices.

You’ll never keep everyone happy – it’s impossible – but if you use our tips above, you’ll end up with a wedding guest list that is fair, realistic and designed to create the best possible celebration come the big day.

How to choose the perfect wedding venue – 20 tips

Posted in Weddings

As venue choices go, picking the best one for your wedding is probably the most important of the lot. But how do you find the right one? And, more importantly, how do you do so without upsetting your partner or any of the key people you wish to invite?

Consider this the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect wedding venue, for we’ve picked out twenty tried-and-tested tips that will solve all of your worries:

1. Get a good feel for attendance numbers

How many people are coming to the wedding? Do you have a solid idea or more of a hunch (hint: the former is what you need when venue shopping!).

If you have an approximate number to hand, you’ll quickly be able to filter out a shortlist of venues that can at least accommodate that number of people and avoid overspending on places that are simply too big.

2. Decide on a budget

Wedding venues range dramatically in price. From small barns loaned by friendly farmers to sprawling castles, the amount you spend depends on one thing – the budget.

This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many couples dive head first into a venue choice without first discussing their budget. Sit down with your fiancé and figure out how much you’re willing to spend and ensure there’s plenty left over for everything else.

3. Take a look at real photos of shortlisted venues

If you head to the website of a venue you have your eye on, you’ll be met with gorgeous imagery that will convince you to part with your hard earned money. Stop!

 

flowers

 

It might look fab on their website (why wouldn’t it?), but by checking out real photos of the venue on photographer websites and those belonging to wedding planners, you’ll get an unfiltered view of what it looks like.

4. Pick a date

Choose a date for your wedding as soon as you can, because if you’re armed with that crucial piece of information, you’ll be able to whittle down the shortlisted venues far quicker. There’s nothing worse than getting your heart set on somewhere only to find that it’s booked up for the foreseeable future, so pick a date and stick to it.

5. Decide on the style of your wedding

Weddings were once rather standard affairs, whereas these days they come in a huge range of styles. Decide early on what you want the style of your wedding to be, and you’ll be able to focus your venue search on places that befit your vision.

6. Make your colour choice work for the venue

Sometimes, you may have to settle for your second choice venue, but if that’s the case, don’t despair.

wolverhampton-wedding

There’s a good chance you’ll have already considered a colour scheme for the number one choice, but if you instead let yourself be led by the venue you’ve booked as an alternative, you can still create the perfect space for your big day.

7. Don’t look past rustic venues

As alluded to earlier, barns are a popular wedding venue choice for the more creative and adventurous couples, and even if you don’t consider yourself among that crowd, you shouldn’t look past rustic venues. They’re generally cheaper than their country house alternatives and may just offer an experience that is unusual enough to become one of the most memorable weddings for you and your guests .

8. Going fairytale?

If you’re the kind of bride who wants that classic fairytale wedding, it’s probably best to look past the more unusual venues and focus your search instead on hotels that offer a classic feel.

9. Go eclectic

Do fairytale weddings fill you with dread? If so, what about going for something entirely non-traditional?

wedding

Plenty of marriages now take place in eclectic venues such as zoos, on top of mountains or go-kart tracks. Think about what really makes you both tick as a couple – what do you love doing? If it sounds bonkers enough and you’re that way inclined – go for it!

10. Consider renting a holiday home

If you’re planning a small wedding to which you’ll only be inviting a selection of family and very close friends, you could do a lot worse than whisk them all away to a private holiday home. No one says you have to hold a wedding in a public venue, and if you’d much rather get away from it all and get married in a homely setting – this could be the perfect option for you both.

11. Request a full walk-through

You really need to get a feel for your wedding venue before signing on the dotted line. For that reason, it’s essential that you request a full walk-through of the building and grounds. There are very few venues that won’t let you do this multiple times, either – so treat it like buying a new house and make sure you return to the venues that struck a chord the first time you visited them.

12. Don’t fall in love straight away

Your partner may have been love at first sight, but make sure you don’t take the same approach with your wedding venue.

weddings-ramada-park-hall-wolverhampton-750x351

Falling for the first place you see is a common mistake made by soon-to-be-married couples. And it’s understandable due to the levels of excitement – but make sure you take your time and avoid being swept off your feet by somewhere that is too big, small or expensive.

13. Factor in every element of the wedding

Where will the band go? What about the DJ? Is there enough room for the buffet you have planned for the evening? Take into account every element of your wedding, because most will need to occupy some space within the venue itself. Make sure you have room for everything (and room to spare!).

14. Take a photographer along

If you’ve already booked your photographer and they’re willing, take them along to your shortlisted venues. The photos from your big day will stay with you forever, therefore if you can get some professional advice on the venue that will offer the best photo opportunities, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

15. Document your visits to venues

Smartphone in hand, take photos of the venues you visit and document the parts you love (and dislike). This will enable you to sit back and review your research at your leisure and away from the eyes of the person who is attempting to sell you the space. Does it still look like ‘the one’ when you look back at those images from the comfort of your couch?

Bride Holding Bouquet

16. Speak to past customers

Ask the venues in which you’re most interest for referrals or testimonials. Most should be able to put you in touch with willing couples who married there previously, and there’s nothing quite like hearing it from the horse’s mouth, as it were.

17. Take notes and make sure you revisit them

As your shortlist starts to decrease, you’ll need to revisit the promises and claims made by each venue. You can only do this if you take notes to remind yourself of what you were told during the visit. Revisit those notes and ask for the venue owners to confirm they’re correct. Even the smallest of details should be ticked off at this stage.

18. Consider travel for you and the guests

The perfect wedding venue isn’t the one which takes days to reach for the people you most want to be there. Make sure you take into account travel arrangements when looking at venues that are further afield. If you’re heading aboard, think about who might not be able to come due to a fear of flying or health issues. Do you really want certain people to miss out because you’ve picked somewhere that is inaccessible for them?

19. Think about travel from church to venue

If you’re getting married in church, consider the distance between it and the reception venue. The day is long enough without guests having to travel for hours to reach the party location. As a general rule of thumb, try and keep the travel distance between the two venues to a minimum of forty minutes. Any longer, and you might end up with some very tired guests come dancing time.

20. Have a contingency plan for poor weather

One thing you can’t control come the big day is Mother Nature. For this reason, you should work hard to find a venue that offers a contingency plan in the event of poor weather. Is there adequate cover outside? Is there enough room inside if everyone has to suddenly rush indoors to escape the hail storm? There are no rules to wedding venue shopping. Get creative, be bold, think of others, but – most importantly – pick the venue that is right for the two of you. It’s your day, after all!

ramada hotel perfect wedding venue

For more information visit our wedding venues page.