Know How

Beauty - Hair & Makeup, Know How

Bridal manicure: Your guide to perfect wedding nails

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on December 13th, 2012

After the wedding dress and your sparkling smile, the third most important thing to have on your wedding day is well-manicured nails. It’s no good being all polished only for your nails to ruin your bridal look. It might be a good idea to stay well clear of elaborate nail art and instead play it safe with a classic French manicure – little bows may look pretty but you don’t want to take the attention of the ring would you? Here’s a handy guide on how to achieve perfect French manicured wedding nails.

Start early when it comes to moisturising. Condition your hands with a good quality hand cream every night at least one month before the wedding. And don’t forget to keep your whole body hydrated from the inside out by drinking enough water too.

Invest in some cuticle oil to keep the cuticles nourished.

Ready to start the manicure? Good.

Trim your nails to a manageable length and file them carefully in the shape you’d like. We prefer a more square shape, while others go for a more classic rounded nail.

Now apply one layer of base coat. This is very important – even if not using a dark colour.

Sit at a good table and with a steady hand paint on the white tips, preferably in pearl rather than tippex white for a more natural look.

With a cotton bud, remove any nail polish that has found its way to where it shouldn’t be. Once you’re happy with the tips it’s time for the next layer.

Paint an even layer of a pale pink polish (brands like OPI and Ciate are great). Don’t worry if you get air bubbles on your nail as the top coat should fix it.

Once dry add the top coat. Et voila, you’re done!

We’d recommend to try this several times before your wedding day if doing it yourself to make sure you perfect the technique.

Gowns, Know How, wedding dresses

The best wedding dress styles for curvy, voluptuous brides

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on November 26th, 2012

We’ve always embraced our natural curves and know that it is not the size that matters. The most important thing when it comes to fashion is not to opt for the latest trends but to choose a cut that flatters you and your shape. This is particularly important on your wedding day.

Look for a dress with a wide neckline which displays your décolletage without showing too much of the girls (no-one except your husband needs to know what they look like). Choose a dress that highlights your best assets: Got a perfect hourglass figure? Find a gown that accentuates your tiny waist. Often a fitted corset top and a full skirt will do wonders.

An empire line wedding dress on the other hand can make you look top heavy and potentially start pregnancy rumours… The more structure the better, as it keeps those curves under control. And don’t forget the all-important bridal lingerie, as this creates the foundation of your bride masterpiece.

And if your girls need a bit more support, there are no wedding rule book that says the bride has to wear a strapless gown. Consider a 50s inspired dress, complete with halter neck for that essential support!

Image: Alfredo Angelo Plus Size Bridal

Get the Look, Know How, Wedding Fun, Wedding Idea, Wedding Planning

How to have a Twilight style wedding

By Andrea Petrou on May 1st, 2012

If you’re a fan of Twilight and watched the wedding scene thinking how stunning it was, then why not be daring and pick this theme for your special day.

Now we’re not talking about getting your guests to don the pale masks, we’re thinking more of the serene woodland theme, with a few Twilight touches to give a nod to the book.

The wedding scene in the film was itself is beautiful, with a foliage-heavy wedding arch complete with white wisteria in a wooded paradise. Thankfully there are a number of places that could be used for the ceremony across England.

Check out the National Heritage site to get a better idea of suitable gardens and woodland in your area. Add the arch as well as large potted plants at each pew to really get the look.

We know the most important part of any brides day, aside from the groom, is of course the dress.

And if you’re having a Twilight theme wedding then this will be even more important. As you’ll already know, Bella’s crepe satin dress with a French Chantilly lace-embellished back, was made by esteemed designer Carolina Herrera.

Although this is available in the designer’s spring collection, it is rumoured to set you back more than a couple of thousand.

Thankfully Alfred Angelo has come to the rescue buying the rights for the design and turning it into something much more affordable.

Twilight Bridal by Alfred Angelo, is available in a number of sizes, from 6-34W, and has over 100 covered buttons down the back and is made of lace and satin and retails at £549.

Other Twilight-inspired touches can include the blue and white crystal heirloom-style hairpiece Bella wears in her hair- a replica can be bought at Amazon, as well as a long cathedral style veil.

When it comes to shoes, you may however want to find a cheaper alternative to Bella’s Manolo Blahnik’s which were custom made and embellished with a sparkly crystal vine applique.

The pleasure of owning such a pair will set you back around $1295.

Check back tomorrow for a gallery of all the Twilight must haves.

Columns/ Opinion, Engagement, Feature, Know How

How to propose to your girlfriend: The good, the bad and the ugly…

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on March 28th, 2012

Last weekend I was enjoying a lovely Saturday afternoon luncheon with good friends on London’s Primrose Hill, looking out over the hazy city skyline. We were chatting birthdays (mine), travels, and life as we soaked up the sun on the glorious March day.

Primrose Hill, with all its surrounding beauty, is also a popular date destination for couples, old and new – often seen snuggled up oblivious to the crowds around. This particular day one couple in particular grabbed our attention.

The guy – in his twenties – put on a wonderful picnic spread for the object of his affection, a cute girl also in her twenties. There was Laurent Perrier Champagne, real glasses (in a park you notice this) and some well thought out nibbles. Apart from perhaps being one of their first dates, my friends and I started to wonder if he was going to propose – or as one called it: Primosing (that’s proposing on Primrose if you wondered). It all turned very exciting when he presented her with a box…

This got me thinking about proposals and what is the best way to pop the question. While being proposed to on Primrose Hill as the capital looks on could be some girl’s dream, it could be some other girl’s nightmare. But what are the good, the bad and the downright ugly ways of proposing?

The ugly proposals

In this category fall the cheesy, unimaginative and downright boring proposals. Asking someone to marry you through the means of a big screen at a sporting event springs to mind. Not only are you putting yourself up for potential humiliation in front of several thousands of people, you are also putting the girl in a horrible position. There they find themselves on the screen, totally taken by surprise. Regardless of what they may say, girls care about what they look like and to have your face blown up to insane proportions with everyone watching is simply not on.

Valentine’s Day-engagement-ring-in-the-champagne-glass proposals also fall into this section.

The bad proposals

Going all Romeo, spitting out poem after poem to your chosen one isn’t the best way forward.  Even though poetry can be beautiful, the girls really just want to hear what is in your heart. So speak from it!

If your girl is a covert (or fully outed) geek, she might find a social media proposal charming, but best to do it in person and rather announce it through the web I’d say.

I’d also put any proposals that entail hiding the ring in any form of food. Not only do you risk the girl accidentally swallowing the ring, she probably doesn’t want her bling covered in cake.

The good proposals

Now for the good ways to propose! These are the ones that show you truly know the person you’re asking to marry you or are unique. What this is only you know, but to give you some inspiration they could include bringing her to the first place you kissed or said ‘I love you’. In other words, any place that is special to you and that will bring back those memories. Hey she might even be more inclined to say yes simply because of this.

Alternatively, get creative and plan a proposal to sweep her off her feet. Remember the musical marriage proposal on the Euston train? It wasn’t the most romantic of places, but it sure was memorable! Adam had enlisted his choir to serenade his then girlfriend Lucy. Aww…

There was also the guy who had made a movie trailer for his proposal which culminated with him entering the cinema screen to pop the question. Brilliant! Or the one that organised for his girlfriend to go on a StumbleUpon adventure. Cute!

You can see videos of both of the proposals below. But what is in your opinion the good or the bad way to propose?

Now back to the guy and the girl on Primrose Hill. As I mentioned, he did bring out a box to present to the girl. And it was a very recognisable one…

It was the iconic white box of Apple’s new iPad. She didn’t seem too fussed, but all of us girls concurred this was one box we’d like our boyfriends to give us… at least for now.

*The above opinions are my own and not intended to offend anyone. In the end what is right for you is the best way. And anyone proposing to me should read the above…

Know How, Wedding decorations, Wedding Planning

Five top trends for winter brides

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on December 2nd, 2011

What does a beautiful winter bride make? While it may be too cold and dark to have the ceremony outside (brrrrr!), Fabienne Slater of Elian Concept Weddings & Events says winter brides should embrace the magic of the season and work with the elements to bring elegance to indoor events.

So what can brides to do brighten up and prettify their winter weddings?

Lace it up!

“Lace is such a fashion-forward theme. Look for lace details on stationery then pair with lace napkin rings, lace gloves and a Kate Middleton-style lace-trimmed dress. You can also find lace dresses for your bridesmaids on the high street.”

Wear coloured shoes
“Statement shoes work well with a winter setting. A bright colour pop of red, pink or purple will add personality to your outfit.”

Be a winter princess with some dazzling head jewellery
“You can add sparkle to your winter wedding with a jewelled headband. Perfect for long hair, set in glamorous waves.”

Stay warm and luxurious in faux fur and feather wraps
“Keep warm outdoors with faux fur or feather wraps, or angora cashmere boleros. Wonderful Wraps have some gorgeous, dramatic cover-ups and capes.”

Keep it all white as snow
“A white winter theme is classic and enduring – and also easy to match. Bouquets of white roses, crisp white table linen and snow-white chair covers will look effortlessly elegant.”

Know How, Wedding Planning

Weird and wonderful wedding traditions from around the world

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on October 28th, 2011

You’ve got the engagement ring and now it’s time to plan the wedding. But are there any traditions you ought to include? Should you let the single girls in the room kiss your groom? Do you really need to drink nine cups of sake for the ceremony to be united? And what about wearing a gold coin in your right shoe and a silver coin in your left the whole day?

Every country has its own traditions, quirks and superstitions, especially when it comes to weddings.

So whether you are getting married abroad or your betrothed is from another part of the world, check out the list below for inspiration – or simply to clear things up!

China: This one relies on the bride getting to the wedding on time which is certainly not a British tradition! However, over in China, couples are renowned for getting wed in the latter half of an hour so that their new life begins with the clock hands point upwards, which is seen to be more positive. A nice, simple idea to incorporate for some added wedding luck.

Denmark: Not such a good one to try if either of you get easily jealous or if any exes are going to be in attendance, but if you want to bring some Danish spirit into the big day, you’ll each need to disappear during the wedding reception so that the single girls in attendance can kiss the groom and the single men can kiss the bride!

India: The bride’s parents might need a little sweet talking if you want to include some Indian culture in your big day; it’s traditional for them to wash both the bride and the groom’s feet with milk and water during the marriage ceremony so that the couple are pure and prepared for their life together.

Indonesia: Celeb weddings may seem grand over here, but in Indonesia it’s perfectly normal for there to be more than 1,000 guests at a wedding reception! Even scarier, the newlyweds are expected to individually greet each guest before the party starts, so we won’t blame you if you don’t fancy taking on this tradition.

Japan: Brits have a bit of a reputation for liking a drink or two, in which case this Japanese tradition should go down well! Couples must drink nine cups of sake during the wedding ceremony before they are considered united, while families and guests have a drink too, to symbolise the unity of the two families. Just make sure someone else is covering the bar tab!

Latvia: Over in Latvia, the groom’s best man and other friends have been known to kidnap the bride at her wedding reception. The new husband then has to pay a ransom (thankfully not real money, but a round of drinks or a song) to show his love and get her back! A bit cruel perhaps, but a great opportunity for a big show of romance too!

Norway: Just like fairy tale princesses, Norwegian brides get to wear a silver crown which is covered in silver charms that jingle as she walks. The noise the charms make is said to ward off evil spirits which might otherwise cause problems for the new couple! If a crown is a bit out there, a charm bracelet can bring the same sentiment to a British wedding.

Russia: Sticking with the fairy tale theme, traditional Orthodox Russian couples take it one step further and are crowned as royalty for their big day. This involves a special carpet for the bride and groom to say their marriage vows on- but before the ceremony starts they race each other to it, with the winner becoming head of the household!

Sweden: It might be an odd choice of in-sole, but in Sweden it’s traditional for the bride’s mother to give her daughter a gold coin to wear in her right shoe, while her father gives her a silver coin for the other. It’s said that by doing this the bride will never be poor- worth a go?

Accessories, Feature, Gallery, Know How, Lingerie, Rings & Jewellery, Shoes

5 ways to wear something blue on your wedding day

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on October 27th, 2011

The tradition of a bride wearing  Something Blue on her wedding day is alive and well, so I thought I’d put together a little gallery with inspiration for how you can incorporate blue into your outfit without looking like you’ve dressed up for Halloween.

Peacock fascinator

Picture 1 of 5

I love the dramatic effect peacock feathers add to a bride’s outfit. This made-to-order peacock feather flower fascinator is by RadoKri Fashion Accessories on Etsy and at only $110 (£71) it is certain to add a dash of something blue to your outfit. Snap on a simple birdcage veil to finish the look.

beauty, Beauty - Hair & Makeup, Know How

Beauty countdown for brides-to-be

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on June 14th, 2011

All brides want to look their best on their wedding day, from hair and dress to nails and skin. What would be worse than breaking out in blemishes or having the make-up look like Alice Cooper on your actual wedding day?! OK, the groom going m.i.a. or the cake falling over darling nan would be worse but…

To ensure things go smoothly it’s essential to make sure you start your bridal beauty regime in good time before of your wedding day. We’ve prepared this little beauty treatment check-list with the assistance of US celebrity esthetician Bella Schneider to help you plan ahead.

Secrets to being a blushing bride:

4-6 months: Facials

Picture 1 of 5

Start treating your skin to monthly facial treatments 4-6 months prior to your wedding. Make sure you get a facial that fit your skin (clarifying, detoxifying, anti-aging) to receive maximum benefits of the treatments. Start the process early and when the day comes all eyes will be on your glowing self!

Know How, Lingerie

The secrets underneath: Bridal lingerie by Chantelle

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on June 9th, 2011

When planning a wedding every bride’s focus will be on the dress – the all-important wedding gown – but have you stopped for one moment to consider that perhaps it’s what’s underneath that makes the dress?

Pretty, sexy lingerie is a must for a bride – don’t make your undergarments your ‘something old’ please! Having a bra and briefs that fit properly can make your dress look completely different, so it’s important to start with the lingerie before you choose the gown.

And if you like many brides have toned up ahead of your day, ensure you book yourself in for measurement appointment before the wedding to make sure you’re wearing the right size. Nothing is worse than an ill-fitting bra…

Now if there is something the French do well it is lingerie, so when leading brand Chantelle invited us down to their London showroom to browse the collections we happily accepted. Chantelle ‘Eternelle’ bridal range includes everything a bride could wish for.

Eternelle is a magnificent line in Calais lace, the fruit of a successful association between French lace-making expertise and Chantelle’s inimitable style.

The lace is rich in detail using very thin thread for a silk lace effect.  Using an old-style artisan technique, that guaranteed high quality, softness and exceptional finishing detail. The soft and delicate lace is combined with the sheen of satin on the bra straps and edging.

Prices vary but a bra will set you back £58 to £62; the full brief £32; suspender belt £38; while the basque is available for £130 and the body £110.

Know How, Wedding Themes

How to have a festival style wedding

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on June 9th, 2011

Festival season is soon upon us, Glastonbury opens its gates in 13 days – it’s where Lily Allen will spend her honeymoon according to reports – and people are packing their camping gear for a summer of music and fun.

So we thought: how can you have a festival style wedding?

First things first, find (well hire) a big field – or an actual festival – and make sure you can get married there. This will also double as your reception area so keep in mind to hire in marquees or tepees that guests can hide in should that dreaded summer rain make an appearance.

Photo: SLR Photography

On the subject of tepees. No festival is complete without a camping area or tepees scattered around to add to the atmosphere. Or why not hire a massive tepee to hold your reception in! Imagine the scene: a large field in the middle of nowhere, guests are met by a gigantic, beautifully decorated tepee that creates a magical setting for your special day – or night. PapaKåta is a great place to start looking as they specialise in hiring out Kåta tents – tepee style tents pioneered by the Sami people of Lapland. Build yourself a little campsite by having smaller tents around the ‘main stage’, so that your guests can stay overnight and the party can continue till sunrise. (

Photo: PapaKåta

Photo: PapaKåta

Next on the list should be to invest in some proper wellies. British summers are very unreliable and big fields often leading to muddy shoes. Ivory heels have no place at a festival wedding, so invest in wedding wellies. Perdita’s Wedding Shoes have just launched a range of pearl Wellington boots, which can be personalised with diamante words if you so desire. Prices start at £42.99 (

Photo: Perdita’s Wedding Shoes

Festival grub is all about easy-to-eat food that isn’t complicated or OTT. Forget about the fanciness and opt for some proper British dishes. Pieminster is a solution, as they create top-notch handmade pies that are served with mash and mushy peas. Works well for carnivores and vegetarians alike! (

Photo: Pieminster

And for drinks: nothing says festival to us more than cider. We love Friel’s Cider, which has no added colourings, sugar or sweeteners, just 100% pure apple cider! OK, we admit it we love it the most because of the label. Available from most supermarkets (

Photo: Friel’s Cider

Finally, the music. Unless you know the bands and artists that usually frequent festivals – like Kate Moss – a local DJ or band will do the trick. Just ensure that the music matches the festival feel you’re trying to create. In other words don’t go for the cheesy-been-played-at-millions-of-weddings-before music. Show your music knowledge.

There you have it, some ideas to get your festival wedding on its way. Please leave a comment below with your suggestions of what will make an amazing festival wedding.

Know How, News

Newlyweds ‘try before they buy’ before tying the knot

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on April 26th, 2011

Ever looked at your parents or grandparents and wondered why they married so young? Some of you might be tying the knot in your early to mid-20s now, but these days it’s becoming more normal to wait until you’re approaching the 30s before considering marriage.

A new study by relationship site eHarmony shows the different path young couples today, such as  Prince William and Kate Middleton who are both approaching 30, travel to marriage, compared to the paths their parents took a generation ago.

30 is now the national average for first-time brides and grooms and living together prior to marriage is the normal thing to do – it would so have been frowned upon some generations ago! – with a staggering 92% of newlyweds saying they lived together before their wedding.

Another interesting finding is that it is more common today for couples to get separated at some time during their relationship, only to get back together and eventually get married. Half of the newlyweds surveyed had spent some time “on a break” from their partner before going on to marry them, compared to only 20% of those married 25 years ago. Again, much like Kate and Wills who famously were broken-up for a few months in 2007.

The reasons couples cite for marriage have also changed remarkably over the past generation. More than one-third of newlyweds today say that being married provides the best foundation in which to bring up children, and they cite this most often as their primary reasons for getting married.  By comparison, their parents were more inclined to view marriage as the best way to celebrate love.

What do you think readers, are you getting married because you want to celebrate your love to each other or is it because you’ve already have kids and feel this is the next step in life’s unknown future? Or perhaps both?

Gowns, Know How, Planning an Italian wedding, Wedding Answers, wedding dresses

How to choose the perfect wedding dress for an Italian wedding

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on March 31st, 2011

Getting married abroad is a rising trend, and Italy has always been a popular destination as our real bride Victoria is living proof of. It might be because it feels more romantic heading to the country of love to exchange your vows, or it could be that it holds a special place in your hearts. While most will be well-versed in preparing for the British weather: mostly rain, drizzle or at luck a glorious sunny day, choosing your wedding dress for a sun-soaked Italian wedding isn’t always so easy.

According to London-based Italian wedding planner Roberta Rabatini the most popular question she is asked from clients is: how do I choose a fabulous, trendy wedding dress that would be suitable for the heat? Luckily for all of us, Roberta is willing to share her top tips for choosing the perfect Italian wedding dress.

“Make sure the fabric of the wedding dress is made of natural fibres. Synthetic fibres (even if mixed with natural ones) will always retain body heat which will make the dress uncomfortable to wear. Fabrics like silk, silk voile, satin, chiffon, soft chiffon, brocade (especially beautiful if enriched with golden threads!) and fresh jersey are the most suitable (and most gorgeous!) choice for a destination summer wedding. Especially in Italy!”

“If you are looking to be on-trend on your wedding day, choose a white dress. A must-have for wedding dresses in 2011 is total white. The best-known Italian designers showcased dresses of all shapes and designs, but all were pure white.”

Body type
“Always choose a dress that best suits your body type. The right shape of dress can make all the difference. Ensure you enhance your good features and minimise those bits you’re not happy with. A high-waisted dress can make you look taller and slimmer whereas a wide skirt on your dress can make you look shorter and wider. A wedding dress with sleeves is a great choice if your arms aren’t your best feature.”

Feature, Flowers/Decoration, Know How, Venues

How to have a wedding in your own garden

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on March 30th, 2011

When it comes to deciding on the venue of your wedding, it might be that the perfect location is right at your doorstep: your back doorstep in fact!

As more couples are opting for bespoke ceremonies and less formal receptions for their big day, finding the right venue will often prove difficult. Most venues will insist on a specific package, a minimum number of guests, money spent on drinks and so the costs just keep on mounting up. And the wedding isn’t necessarily going to be that personalised as it will be what the happy couple before you had and the happy couple before them and so on…

If you’re lucky enough to have your own garden (or know someone that does) why not turn your little plot of land into a stunning setting for a wedding tea party.

Yorkshire based company Backyard Weddings has noticed this trend are offering a bespoke service for Northern brides and grooms who wish to say their vows in the comfort of their own garden. Backyard Weddings will come to you, set up the marquee in case it rains complete with chandeliers, deck the furniture (they’ll bring it!) with vintage twist – making it perfect for a vintage tea party. The service also includes a bespoke wedding ceremony, so you’ll be able to decide on every little detail! And if you’ve got 150 friends, it doesn’t matter as they can cater for very small to more meadow sized wedding parties.

Are you planning a garden wedding? We’d love to hear from you.

Know How

How to: Get your groom looking like a Prince on your wedding day

By Andrea Petrou on March 23rd, 2011

Let’s face it, with the royal wedding taking place next month us brides who are getting married later on in the year, have a lot to live up to.
Yes there’s the carriage you can pick up relatively cheaply, the vintage style costume ring you can buy from, erm, Topshop and the dress, which will make you feel like a princess but how do you get your groom to emit those royal rays?

Those geniuses over at Green People have come up with a few pointers and of course organic products, to get your groom all scrubbed for that big day.

At number one comes the scrub it EXFOLIATOR, which lets your OH blast away dry and dull skin, and buff with natural Bamboo particles to lift away dead cells. (Bamboo traditionally brings good fortune, which will be handy on the Royal Wedding day, infact every Wedding Day).

Bentonite is a natural clay mineral for deep-cleansing – and it draws out impurities. Potent antioxidants, Olive leaf and Rosemary team up to combat the signs of ageing by protecting against free-radical damage. Fairly-traded Shea Butter nourishes and protects. ‘ Scrub It’ also helps to battle ingrown hairs – perfect on the big day, and essential for ever after.

In at number two comes the WASH & SHAVE, which is a 2-in-1 active-packed face wash and shaving gel. It lifts hair shafts to help prevent ‘razor burn’ nicks, and cuts. A generous dose of Aloe Vera, Seaweed and plant proteins combine to condition and nourish the skin for sensationally smooth, supple results.

Number 3 comes in the shape of the MOISTURISER.
On the big day, the guy that gets the girl will need truly outstanding skin. The ‘Homme’ range is certified by both EcoCert and The Organic Food Federation, guaranteeing gorgeous organic actives for maximum performance. Slap on to cool down at any time of day with with this non-greasy, organic after shave and moisturiser, with a none pore-clogging formulation to prevent spots. Nourishing Almond oil and Shea butter also support the natural skin oils for lasting softness, even on tough skin. Organic Homme is suitable for all men, including those with sensitive skin or prone to eczema, psoriasis, acne and skin allergies. Be regally confident in the safe knowledge that these products are made without any chemical ‘nasties’ – including skin drying Ethyl alcohol, irritating Sodium lauryl sulphate, Parabens, Phthalates, Synthetic Fragrances or Artificial Colours.

Feature, Finance, Know How, Wedding 101, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Planning

Wedding Planning 101: The Budget

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on February 1st, 2011

The engagement photos have now been taken, you’ve got your wedding planner book close at hand – with the date etched in as the now looming deadline – and you’re ready to focus on the task ahead: actually planning your wedding. How exciting!

If you have a particular venue in mind it’s best to get this sorted as soon as possible, as some popular venues get booked up months, if not years in advance. If you haven’t decided where you and your love will say the “I do’s” don’t worry, we’ll focus on venues next week. But before you start planning centre pieces, Krug Champagne or doves to be let out as you depart the church, there is one thing that needs to be sorted: the budget.

You and your husband-to-be have to sit down and figure out exactly how much you both have to spend on your special day. No doubt, you’ll by now invested in a few bridal magazines and scoured the bridal websites and blogs for inspiration – ours included we hope! Perhaps your man will let you take care of all the little details and is happy as long as his suit isn’t pink, but remember that there are two people sharing what will be an amazing day, so make sure both are involved from day one (this way it will also be easier to share responsibilities at a later stage). And if you’re like me, you’re easily distracted by pretty things that eventually could end up costing you a fortune. So a budget – even if horribly tedious – is essential.

We suggest making a night of it. Buy in a few bottles of wine, have some nice food to nibble on and arm yourself with pen, paper and a calculator. Only when you know what you can spend, the quotes you collect will start making sense.

Your trusted friend, the wedding planner, will most likely have a budget template so that you can easily list all items you can think of that need to be taken into account. Otherwise, there are many free templates available online, which a quick Google search and printout will take care of.

What is your overall budget?

OK, now you can start looking at how this should be divided across the budget categories. We find it works to compartmentalise. First think of the bigger picture: bride, groom, outfits for your wedding party, venue and ceremony, food and drink, on the day expenses (e.g. photography and music), and honeymoon. These are now your budget categories. Now you can tackle each category at a time. Most likely you as the bride will have a bigger piece of the cake so to speak compared to your groom, as you’ll need a dress, new shoes, professional makeup and hair, perfume, jewellery, and a head piece (if this is your thing) just to name a few.

Think about your guest list

The size of your wedding party is a huge factor that will determine the costs. Are you thinking only close friends and family or a 200 plus party? Who will attend just the ceremony, just the reception or both? More invites equals more invitations, more gifts, more food and more drink. Aunts and uncles ok, but does Daisy from university really need an invitation if you haven’t seen or spoken to her for months even if you were inseparable at the time? The best way to tackle this would be to decide on an overall size: small, medium or large and stick to it. List the immediate family and friends that are a given, then allocate a number of friends each that you can invite (keep in mind that each might come with a plus one ) and stick to it. If not, your wedding will be super-sized before you know it.

Money, what money?

It is also wise to set up a separate bank account to use for all wedding related expenses and to pay any monetary wedding donations into. Also set up a standing order from both of your bank accounts that will add to the funds on a monthly basis.

Divide and conquer

Whatever your budget is, start writing down what you’re estimating to spend on each element. If you’re afraid of scribbling all over your beautiful wedding planner, use Post It notes and a big board or your wall, and make a big wedding chart. Not only will it add some fun into budgeting it could also make a nice feature for your wall.

It could take a lot of toing and froing to get to the right sum that fits with your budget – and most likely you’ll end up going over it either way *hush hush*. But also think about what means the most to you. Want to get married by a castle but it costs double as much as your local church? Consider what you can save on. If you’re not too bothered about your wedding dress being made especially for you as you’ll only wear it once, consider heading to a charity shop near you – you might find a perfect second-hand dress for a fragment of the price of a new one. Flowers look amazing, but as most will be cut off flowers they will dwindle a few days after the ceremony. Think about other things that can adorn your reception area and tables: candles, bowls of water with a sprinkle of flower petals or even items that hold a sentimental value. Did you and your groom spend time travelling at some stage in your relationship? Why not place items you gathered when travelling or photos as the centrepiece? The possibilities are endless!

Believe us; putting the budget together doesn’t have to be as dreary as it sounds – make it fun by being creative.

How are you getting on planning your wedding? We’d love to hear from you!

Step 3: Venue

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