Ask the experts

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Hampshire and Dorset Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourhampshiredorset.wedding

To view more Q&A's on a different topic, please select one from the list below.

Hot topic: Expert advice

Local experts advise on all things wedding

English rose

English rose

Q. We want our country garden wedding to be as relaxed and informal as possible. I've no idea what style of dress to choose though. I want something that's not too restricting, but that will also make me feel glamorous. Any ideas?

A. Sue Evans says: The Casablanca Bridal fit-and-flare gown (pictured) has a beautiful cross-laced back and is great for an outdoor wedding. With intricate beading and embroidery it certainly delivers on the wow factor and is light and easy to wear. Available in three colour choices, there's also the option of lace side splits for a cooler feel.

One of my favourites is the Demetrios dress (pictured), one that Gok Wan himself fell in love with when we hosted a catwalk show for him last year. This design complements your theme beautifully. With soft blush pink petals and flowers scattered over the gown, it's also available in ivory. The train can be shortened to make it easier to walk on grass, it has an off-theshoulder neckline and the full skirt can be made without hoops for a softer effect.

For the accessories include a rose flower veil and blush petal hairpieces and to complement your theme, how about a flower ring cushion and matching garter, not forgetting a 'just-married' umbrella – just in case? Capes are also becoming popular; ideal as an extra layer to keep the chills at bay in the evening.

Food, glorious food

Food, glorious food

Q. We're great foodies and don't want to skimp on the menu for our chilled al fresco wedding. What would you suggest that's less formal than the traditional three-course sit-down meal but still delicious?

A. Sally Ann Pickles says: An outdoor wedding is all about having fun with your friends and family, so forget formalities. Replace a starter with roving canapés or sharing platters from grazing stations. Swap the main course for vibrant, eclectic colourful salads boosted with a topper such as chargrilled halloumi or poached salmon; that way your guests get to choose their kind of protein. The perfect finale to outdoor grazing must be delightful mini pots of deliciousness. So everyone gets a bite-size taste of their favourite dessert, make sure your caterer covers the whole range from salted caramel and chocolate pots to Eton mess.

Of course an outdoor wedding is always perfect with sun, sea, sand and the rustic feel of the great outdoors and we're lucky enough to have all bases covered in this region.

Style me pretty

Style me pretty

Q. What kind of bridal look, colours and styles are on trend for an outdoor summer wedding?

A. Andrew Pearce says: The latest colours are blush, latte and soft ivory. Floaty skirts are also very popular and they look and feel cool throughout the day – check out Justin Alexander (style 88003). For a beautiful summer-styled wedding, our top pick is the 3D floral off-the-shoulder Justin Alexander gown (pictured).

Soft bohemian curls are on trend for bridal hair and look great dotted with miniature roses and gypsophila or adorned with a jewelled trailing hair vine such as Ember Dream by Ivory & Co.

The great outdoors

The great outdoors

Q. How can we style our wedding day and make the most of the outside space to create a summer festival vibe?

A. Charlotte and Julie says: Don't forget, if you're having a marquee, tipi or stretch tent, you'll need to accommodate posh toilets. We'd also suggest:

❤ Embrace the Great British weather with bling-styled wellie boots and umbrellas or sun cream and hats.

❤ Trackway matting linking the venue, accommodation and parking is a good idea for accessibility if the weather's bad.

❤ Make the most of local produce and continue the relaxed informal feel by having a barbecue or hog roast so your guests can mix and mingle outside.

❤ Picnic hampers are great for al fresco dining, packed with local foods, English sparkling wine, jams, chutneys and chocolates. Embroidered napkins and glasses personalised with your initials add an extra special touch.

❤ VW Campervans are fab for making your entrance and provide great photo opportunities too.

❤ If there's room on site, set up a glamping area for guests wanting to stay over – a back-to-nature retreat but with added luxury.

❤ Bring the outside in and make the most of flowers and foliage from the surrounding area for your decorations. Use hay bales for seating with cloth or hessian covers and bare-wood tables with wild flowers, twigs, berries and log slices for the centrepieces.

❤ Table plans can be ticket-themed and give your guests all-access lanyards.

❤ Create a chill-out zone with soft cushions for seating.

❤ Set the tone for the evening with a live band.

❤ Have blankets and a fire pit for toasting marshmallows.

❤ Choose a range of lighting for the evening to create different moods, including festoon, lanterns, fairylights and candles; great for fabulous photos.

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