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Advice for bridesSome invaluable insights every bride should know

A friend of ours recently offered us some great insights after planning her friendís wedding...

1. I wish someone had told me that it didn’t matter what shoes I wore because you only seen the tips of my toes. I went for an expensive bridal shoe because it looked the part but you couldn’t see them under the dress and they hurt my feet. They were only 3.4 inch heels but they were kitten heels and I guess this was the problem. I said no to block heels point blank but if I was getting married again I would say Yes Yes Yes...
2. I also wish that someone had told me that ordering the same colour of dress (flower girl and Bridesmaid) from the same designer didn’t necessarily mean they would be the same colour. If doing this then make sure both dresses are the same fabric as well because it’s very hard to get the colours exact otherwise. Also.. Order all the dresses together so that they will come from the same run of material. It may be hard to shell out for loads of dresses together but if it matters they are the same shade, please take my advice.
3. Keep checking with people to make sure they are still available to do your wedding. If there is more than one person involved in the company then insist that he/she asks the other members involved before giving you the Yes word. We had our band cancel 3 weeks before because the singer said yes but then (when pressed to ask the others) they had booked holidays.
4. When ordering your cars take your height and size of dress into account. We ordered a Beauford which is a brilliant car but we never thought of what head room we would have when the soft top was on. We never imagined it would rain in August but it poured. I had to sit slightly sloped because the boning in my dress meant I had to keep be abdominals straight. It was still a gorgeous car though but make sure you can sit comfortably especially if it’s a long journey
5. It’s really important to have a plan B for photographs especially if your photographer has an old style film run through camera. Films do get stuck on the odd occasion and therefore it is always good to make sure there is someone there with a good quality digital camera (9mp or above) to take second shots. Photographs are a really important part of your day as these will act as memories and possibly hang on the wall of your ancestors for years to come. This didn’t happen at my wedding but happened at a friends and only for me and my camera she would have lost the bulk of her shots. The photographer may not know it’s happened until it’s too late as the film just keeps tightening and tightening. My friends’ wedding was a couple of years ago and I didn’t have as well as quality camera as I have now. The result is 5mp photos that can’t be blown up very big.
6. Make sure you have a plan B place for taking your photos. I asked a nursing home the month before my wedding if I could take pictures in their home. It had a long winding staircase and grand piano, so it was nice. Indoor photos are a must if it’s pouring outside because otherwise you will be looking wet and bedraggled and the photographers’ kit will be drenched. If you don’t have a plan B then you run the chance of taking photographs in a hotel situation with a toilet sign stuck above your head or something!
7. Do not go and book something just because you think its the cheapest you may get. You have to make sure that the person you book is genuine. Speak with them. Ask to see their things. If they are a new business and don’t have a reputation yet, the chances are that they will be trying to make an impression but just to make sure tell them you're holding back a proportion of the money until after they deliver what you’re asking because you want to ensure you get what you’re asking and they don’t have a proven track record.
8. Do not let your hotel push you around. These places make a mint from weddings and an unhappy bride and groom who let others know is bad for their business. Let them know this (in a good way) just let them know that you have people who are looking for feedback from you regarding their service.
9. Regarding shoes again. I paid £80 for my shoes and they came from the belle range. Do not assume that spending more money will be kinder to your feet. Of me and my 2 bridesmaids. One bridesmaid had Katz and her feet were sore, they cost £40, the other had Rainbows which cost £45 and had a 5 inch heel and were superb, not even a blister. Mine were the most expensive and I was running around in bare feet by the end of the night but when I tried on the Rainbow shoes I saw why my BMs feet were fine. So much padding in the sole and around the toes!! What I am saying is that you need to try them on and walk around in them. Go somewhere that does more than one size.
10. When buying lingerie ask the advice of the person who is doing your alterations or the shop you bought the dress from. You cannot have a Basque under all dresses. Mine couldn’t because of the boning. 2 sets of boning would have been uncomfortable. I only found this out after I bought the Basque.
11. When thinking about how to entertain your guests while you are getting photos done there are cheaper options. Use a couple of members from the same band at the ceremony, record a CD of your favourite songs for the hotel to play, or if your sure its going to be a good day why not purchase some cheap lawn games. (We had giant connect 4, croquet, French bowls and hop scotch on the stand by in case it stopped raining. sadly it didn’t)
12. Make sure that everything is kept in the same place. I got married from my parents place and brought things there gradually. Unfortunately I didn’t heed my own advice were my tiara was concerned and left it in the car thinking it would be there when I went to get my hair done. Sadly it wasn’t but thankfully I had enough wired orchids to save the day and it looked fine anyhow.
13. Don’t let your bridesmaids boss you around. If you seem like you have lost direction in their eyes then they will automatically take the wheel. These are your friends, so there is no need to be a bridezilla but just make sure you get what you want on your day. They will be sure to get what they want on theirs.
14. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself in the planning stages. Don’t make it into a labourious task that just has to be done. I was stressed to the eyeballs and now I can’t believe I got so worked up.
15. Treat yourself. Facials, massages, manicures, pedicures. Make sure you look after yourself and go somewhere where you can turn off your mobile and relax. It’s extremely important because you don’t want a nerve rash on your big day. But don’t have a facial on the month of your wedding as it will bring the impurities to the surface and give you spots.
16. Don’t ever buy bridesmaid dresses or any other item from online shops based outside the UK. You may end up paying large customs charges and postage for this side of the water. They may seem cheap but they won’t be as cheap and the saving really isn’t worth the hassle.
17. Know what will suit. The wedding shop never thought that the dress I picked would suit but on the day you would never have guessed that there was a midriff the size of the Himalayas hiding under there. Make sure you’re not too distracted by what looks good on the models in the catalogues and you know the tips for disguising anything you are self conscious about. Eg I hate the top of my arms so I bought an organza bolero type thing.
18. Flower girls are not always a good idea. I had 2 angels and one that was very prone to tantrums. So choose the flower girls carefully. The one that is prone to tantrums doesn’t live over here and so hadn’t already got a bond with me. That bond is so important because little girls do things perfectly for their favourite Auntie but play up for people who aren’t that close something shocking!
19. Choose your bridesmaids very carefully. The nature of Bridal dresses is that it’s very hard to get to the toilet. So if you have a friend who you’re comfortable seeing your bum, she is bridesmaid material, if not then she isn’t bridesmaid material. Simple as. We had a hoot going to the loo on my wedding day. One bridesmaid holding the back and the other the front. You can picture the scene
20. Getting an amateur to do your flowers can pay off. I got an amateur to decorate the church and then a freelance florist to do my bouquets. I made sure both people liaised with each other. The church looked brilliant and so did the bouquets. I’m not suggesting anyone use someone that doesn’t know a rose from a gladioli but if you keep your ear to the ground (especially in church circles) there is usually a talented local who does arranging at a fraction of the cost. My guy is a floral art champion
21. Make sure that you already have a bond with or that you build a bond with the younger members of your bridal party early on. The last couple of months are really too hectic to be running around after a little miss prim who may or may not put on her dress on the morning
22. Think carefully about having attendants who have to get flights to come over for fittings etc. If you ask someone over the water then make sure that they are told at the time that this means they will have to take time off work to come over for fittings and pay for their own flights. Otherwise you may end up in the situation I was in. I wanted my flower girl and mother to come over so she could be measured and her dress altered. Mother said she would only pay for one way flight and stay until wedding. I therefore was entertaining guests the week before my wedding (as if things aren’t stressful enough). That being said, it did help a bit with the bonding thing
23. If you have a strapless dress and want straps. Consider having them halter instead of ordinary. This usually follows the line of the dress better and it doesn’t then look like they have been added. I did consider doing this but then found my bolero thing and thought it would look too busy with bolero and halter straps.
24. Give your photographer a list of photographs and make him/her stick to it. My photographer is brilliant but wasn’t very happy when he had to shoot full family shots inside. He asked if I wanted him to work miracles and I assertively said 'No, I want you to look through a lens and press a button and in my experience that isn’t too hard'. I showed him where he could take them and I will now have photographs of people who may not be around in years to come.
25. Get wedding Insurance as early on as possible. I actually didn’t and when my niece died I wanted to postpone the wedding but I hadn’t Insurance and that meant I would have lost all my deposits. I’m glad I didn’t postpone it as well because the wedding really helped my family through.
26. (Connected to 24 and 25 in a way) Never take it for granted that there will be other opportunities to take family photos as you never know how long you have people (no matter how young).
27. Decide and talk about what you are doing about having kids. Are you having any? How many are you wanting? When are you wanting them? And decide on birth control. These are things that men need to be cornered into talking about but my friend got married and her husband started to get a complex about her not conceiving. It actually turned out that there had been a complete lack of communication and my friend had got an implant in her arm for birth control. Her husband didn’t know, and she just assumed he wouldn’t want kids so early. Another situation, my cousin got married to a woman who wanted kids and he didn’t want kids. Caused loads of rows! It’s a burning issue that can cause marriage break ups, so discuss it now!
28. People spend an age on a seating plan for the meal but don’t bother their heads when they know room will be tight in the church. Its not good enough counting how many people can fit in. You have to bear in mind that people will want to sit with their families so if a family of 6 is late and there are 6 places left but not together, then this is a problem. Our ushers had a seating plan of sorts. We had all the family named and after that we had counted how many parties of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc there were and made a plan of the church with each party of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, colour coded. That way it didn’t matter who they seated where, as long as everyone fitted together like a perfect game of tetris and they weren’t split from their family. This saved time for us as we had 207 guests on the day and it would have taken ages for the ushers to go through the names otherwise.
29. If you want to travel the world and your fiancé is a home bird then you may want to get this out of your system before you marry or discuss the option of going with a friend instead of him. Basically anything that will affect your partner, emotionally, financially or logistically needs to be discussed at an early stage.
30. Having a group photograph at the church is a very good way to include even those who have planned something in between. We couldn’t do this because of the size of crowd and because of the rain. So bear in mind that this may be a photograph that you won’t get unless you have somewhere planned that has a large enough staircase or slope in which to put the whole of your guests. If there is no slope or staircase then the photographer can get everyone in by taking it from a height.
31. When you are receiving presents please bear in mind that you will have to put them somewhere. As you get something that is going to replace an old version of the same thing. Offer the old one to someone who is in need of that same item. This is with exception to toasters and kettles because a spare of these 2 items is always a very good idea as they constantly break down.
32. If you are getting an engagement photograph done before the wedding try to wear a plain block of colour rather than a busy pattern. This is especially if you are getting a black and white one done. No. 1 The colours won’t translate No 2 Fashion moves on and rather than being embarrassed later it’s better to be wearing something that doesn’t date No. 3 and this is the most important. The subject of the photograph is supposed to be you and not your top! No 4. Do not wear white as this will probably be the same as the back drop used by the photographer and your head will look like its floating in mid air.
33. Do not assume that big stores such as Debenhams are the best for your wedding list. They very often run out of stock and make substitutions of items and this will peeve off your guests.
34. Never assume anything. Definitely don’t assume that your man will know even the simplest of things. At the wedding I was helping with and attending, the groom had been asked by the bride to sort out the balloons. Now the bride may have thought that this was one of the simplest things that couldn’t go wrong but the groom asked us if we would help him blow up the balloons with him. When I got there I found that the balloons had "Just married" written on them. The problem with this is that the Just married was written to suit the balloons being blown up by helium. I alerted the groom to this (thinking that he would realise his mistake and have a laugh about it) but the poor man had no idea that balloons didn’t float without helium. I actually had to demonstrate this by dropping the balloon to the floor. So Girls, If you want something done by your nearest and dearest just get them to talk you through their plan of how they will make it happen and this will let you know if its gonna drop like a blown up balloon or fly like a helium one.
35. On the subject of balloons. I checked with my hotel and they blew them up for me and provided them free. If this isn’t the case there is the option of employing someone who definitely knows what they are doing or going along to Clinton cards or another card shop and paying them per balloon to fill them with helium or high flow. (Be warned this does need to be booked in advance and usually 24 hours in advance. I had to beg Clinton cards in Sunderland to do it at 14 hours notice.)
36. If you are going for the do it yourself option then you need to be aware that helium only lasts 10 hours and therefore your balloons will need picked up on the day of the wedding by a responsible individual. You can opt for high flow and this will last approx 3 days and so can be installed the night before but this will cost more than helium.
37. Don’t assume that your best man knows to get a guest book. I personally had to save the day by zipping along to Debenhams on the morning of the wedding for a guest book. It was extremely expensive compared to ours (which was bought on eBay) so I would recommend reminding your best man that it is his responsibility and actually asking to see it before the day.
38. If buying a Marks and Spencer’s cake and decorating it yourself I have a tip as my husband used to be a baker. It is really important to cover your cake boards because otherwise it will be obvious that it hasn’t been professionally decorated but cover your boards and the day shall be saved. All you need is some ribbon that is the same depth as the board or slightly deeper. You will need to mix an egg white with icing sugar until it is able to stand on its own but still capable of being pushed through a bag. Make sure it is pretty firm. Put it in a zip and seal bag and snip off a small bit of the corner (this is the cheapo unprofessional way to make a piping bag), Then run it around the edge of the board squeezing a line of icing out. The ribbon should then stick easily to the board. This is a good way to personalise the cake by matching the ribbon to the bridesmaid colour. >
39. This is one for you girls that have bridesmaids who live in different parts of the country. The Bride had 3 bridesmaids and a flower girl. 2 lived in England and 1 bridesmaid and the flower girl in Northern Ireland. The bride decided on 2 different colours and a style of dress and sent the bridesmaids out to find them. She then said yay or nay to what she saw. I thought this worked perfectly and actually seemed to save a lot of stress.