FAQs and expert advice about wedding planning

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


Planning SOS

Planning SOS

Q. What advice can you share when it comes to planning our wedding?

A. Catherine Lavin says: Planning a dream wedding is exciting but can sometimes feel overwhelming. We have three key pieces of advice to help...

- Pick two or three parts of the day that mean the most to you as a couple and prioritise these things in your budget and planning; for example, this could be the catering, photography, entertainment, rings or the dress.

- Trust your wedding suppliers as the teams are experts in their field – remember you chose them for a reason.

- Always keep focused that your dream wedding day is the start of your marriage; never lose sight of that.

Catherine Lavin, Kingston Country Courtyard


The perfect day

The perfect day

Q. We're planning an outdoor wedding in August, what advice can you share to help with the process?

A. Siân Bowron says: Always prepare for all eventualities when it comes to the weather. Make sure you have a wet-weather plan as well as a hot one in place. If you're having an outdoor ceremony, what's the plan if it rains? Do you have a big enough marquee or tipi for everyone to gather under if the heavens open? For scorching weather, consider increasing your supply of drinking water for your guests and shaded areas where possible. I was running a wedding in a tipi a few years ago on the hottest day of the year, and there was very little shade. My saving grace was the refrigerated van, and I'm not embarrassed to say I did pop in to cool down regularly. Remember, umbrellas can be used as sun shades and not just for the rain.

Consider supplying or advising your guests to bring shrugs or something warm to throw on for the evening as it can become relatively cold once the sun sets, especially for your older guests. I always recommend a supply of warm drinks for loved ones who like a cuppa later in the day.

In summary, always consider the comfort of your guests attending for the entire day alongside your backup plan depending on the unpredictable British weather.

Siân Bowron, Amethyst Weddings


'tis the season

'tis the season

Q. What colours and decorative details would you recommend to create a seasonal look for a winter wedding reception that's cosy and not too over the top?

A. Lois Baw says: Lois says: As the seasons change and we move into late autumn, early winter I always recommend minimal colour with lots of candlelight. I love white and neutral tones, especially at the vineyard because I think the colours from the vines speak for themselves. In early November, the leaves are a beautiful burnt orange and provide not only a stunning backdrop for photos, but inspiration for the big-day colour palette too.

You can't go wrong with floating candles, log slices and lanterns for the venue styling. We provide fairylights in the Old Winery and under the Byre to add extra twinkle to your day. As the daylight hours get shorter and the sun sets, candles create a romantic yet snug atmosphere. For the Christmas period, subtle metallics work well with a rich burgundy or forest green colour scheme, providing a natural festive feel without over doing it. If you're a big fan of the season, why not have baubles as favours, mini-Christmas trees as centrepieces and hot chocolate and marshmallows as a winter warmer after the meal? One of my favourite things about this time of year is the moody twilight hours, so make sure you check what time the sun is setting, grab your photographer and head out for some stunning photos!

Lois Baw, Three Choirs Vineyard


Autumn glory

Autumn glory

Q. We want to reflect the season with on-trend styling and decorative details for our autumn wedding and need inspiration. Can you help?

A. Holly Annetts says: Holly says: In the aftermath of the last 18 months, many couples are continuing to opt for outdoor ceremonies and receptions where possible. With this in mind, secret-garden and al fresco boho themes will be popular. To create a wonderful autumnal feel, dried flowers are ideal in seasonal mustard yellow and burnt orange tones. Sustainability and eco-credentials are important considerations and can be incorporated into your wedding by using local suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of your day. Hiring props, using recycled materials and sourcing reusable decorative items such as glass jars for the centrepieces and decorations are also options for a greener wedding. Giving packets of wildflower seeds as wedding favours is popular too and a great way of getting your guests involved in the sustainability of your wedding day.

To tie in with the season homemade wooden items, such as log slices, wooden pallets and table plans work well. Pairing dark wood with orange, red and yellow flowers is great for autumn and looks fantastic too. Not forgetting the lighting; think lots of twinkly fairylights to give your outdoor or indoor space a magical feel.

Holly Annetts, Entwine Wedding Planning


Green credentials

Green credentials

Q. We try to be as kind to the planet as possible in our everyday lives and would like to reflect this throughout our wedding. What would you suggest to make a difference?

A. Peta Panos says: Peta says: Here are just a few ideas to help lower the environmental impact of your big day:

- Think about the fabrics you choose as they can be very resource-draining and try to use organic or natural fibres and materials where possible, such as hemp, cotton and linen.

- Instead of buying one-off items, reuse decorations you already have or shop for pre-loved pieces.

- Choose your venue carefully and look for one with an eco-friendly ethos and practices. Things to consider include solar power, composting, do they grow their own vegetables or source farm-to-table, locally produced food?

- When it comes to transport for your guests, organise group pick-up and drop-off points to cut down on car use.

- Some couples opt to collect money for their favourite charity rather than receive wedding presents. However, if you do have a gift list, try to select things that can be used and treasured for years to come.

- If you're having confetti, make sure it's biodegradable but avoid rice as it can be harmful to birds. Instead of scattering fresh petals down the aisle use dried ones recycled by the bridal party from cut flowers in the lead-up to the wedding.

- Look for a florist who uses locally produced blooms so they don't need to be flown in. Consider potted plants or herbs as centrepieces which can then be planted after the big day.

- Hand-crafted mementos can be more eco-friendly and make great gifts for your guests too.

Peta Panos, The Enchanted Manor


Planet friendly

Planet friendly

Q. We want our wedding to be as green as possible but still big on style. Can we have both?

A. Sian Bowron says: Sian says: More and more couples are looking for ways to lower the carbon footprint of their big day. Sustainability is a key issue and there are more and more options available for those looking to make greener choices without compromising on wedding wow factor. Here are just some of the latest styling ideas with a focus on eco friendly alternatives.

- Hire your tableware and glassware to avoid waste.

- Paper flowers are recyclable and there's no need to worry if the blooms you have your heart set on are in season or not. Flowers pictured by www.petalandbird.co.uk

- Opt for stationery printed on seed paper which rather than being thrown away can be planted afterwards to turn into a beautiful display of wild flowers. Stationery pictured by www.poppyandthistle.co.uk

Sian Bowron, Amethyst Weddings


Less is more

Less is more

Q. We're downsizing our wedding, but does that have to mean compromising on the look and feel of our day?

A. Natasha Gilchrist says: Natasha says: A small intimate wedding can be even more memorable in many ways. If you previously had a big guest list and are now only having 15 people, that's a big compromise, but think just how meaningful your day could be. When you've invited a crowd, it can be quite overwhelming and you could miss out on some of the little details and special moments with your loved ones.

By having a small intimate celebration you have so much more time to enjoy everyone's company and with the savings you've made you could splash out on some of those extras you might have originally cut back on. Maybe have some statement floral arrangements or go all out on the styling for your wedding breakfast table. You could even book something special like a classic car to drive away in or owls, as pictured, from FAB Falconry (www.fabfalconry.co.uk); brilliant for standout wedding photos. Small doesn't always mean less it can be the opposite – grand and bespoke to you!

Natasha Gilchrist, Tasha-Mae


Just a click away

Just a click away

Q. We want to get married no matter what but will really miss not having all our loved ones there to see us tie the knot. What can we do to make sure it's the happiest day possible?

A. Louise Moth says: Helen says: One of the biggest challenges is reducing the guest list and an idea that's been proving particularly popular is using video services such as Zoom to enable friends and family to virtually be part of your day. The beauty of this is that it can be as prominent or subtle as you like. To keep things simple, a screen and webcam can be set up for the key moments of the day such as the ceremony and the speeches. To take it up a notch, couples can create fancy virtual invites, ask their remote guests to dress up for the occasion, even timing their meal at home with the wedding breakfast so they can enjoy the speeches and toasts with you. Your remote guests can be involved as much or as little as you want in order to help make your day truly special.

Top tips

- Check with your venue what equipment they'll provide and what things you need to bring. Typically for this kind of setup the venue will provide the screen, but you should check if they provide an HDMI cable, webcam, any converters (especially if you're using a MacBook) and the laptop.

- Discuss with your venue in advance where you want the screen to be and if it needs to be moved throughout the day. With fewer guests, the best man may feel a little redundant, so this is a great job to delegate to him.

- Prolong your wedding celebrations and host your evening reception on your first-year anniversary. You might not be able to hold that big party now with music and dancing into the night but that doesn't mean it can't be part of your wedding once restrictions have lifted. What better way to celebrate your first year as newlyweds than by returning to your wedding venue to relive the magic of the day with your extended family and friends.

- If you had a videographer on the day, the post-wedding party is also the perfect time to get it on the screens for everyone to see

Louise Moth, Old Thorns

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