Ask the experts

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your North East 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@yournortheast.wedding

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

Hot topic: Expert Advice

Unsure on etiquette but don't know where to turn? Our North East experts are here to help

Escape to the country

Escape to the country

Q. A lot of our guests are travelling from further afield, so we want a venue that offers more than just a hotel room. What should we be looking for in the Northumberland area?

A. Rachel Barlow says: Rachel says: We'd always recommend looking at venues that offer more than just one night and more of an experience. A number of venues in Northumberland, including Ellingham Hall, offer two-night wedding experiences. We often find that when couples have guests who make the effort to come to the wedding, a one-day event with a quick stay-over can be quite exhausting. You want your friends and family to enjoy their time as much as you do, so make sure you do some proper research. Many venues will include catering the night before for all guests, as well as breakfasts both mornings, meaning you and all your guests can be fully relaxed and enjoy the occasion without worrying or feeling rushed. Here at Ellingham Hall, we also offer luxury self-catering cottages to guests. Sleeping up to four or six people for two nights, this is a great option for families or groups of friends who want to be close to the action but also have their own space to escape.

Bigger is better

Bigger is better

Q. We want 200 guests at our evening reception, but my mam says that's far too many. How much do wedding venues help when such a large party needs to be catered for?

A. Nicole Wardle says: Nicole says: Wow – what a popular couple you are! A big evening reception is great; there'll be such a fab atmosphere, a nice full dancefloor and lots of fun. The key is to make sure your venue is comfortable with your numbers, and do take their advice on catering options. Venues are very flexible these days, with lots of different options on tap.

It is your venue's responsibility and duty of care to advise a realistic capacity for your evening reception, and if your numbers fall within this guideline, then you should all have a wonderful night. The bar will be controlled, the restrooms well checked and the area spacious enough.

In terms of stress, the only thing to consider from your perspective is getting around everyone to say “hi” and maybe have a dance with them – that's a lot of people to see!

I would highly recommend a good entertainment base to make sure such a big group has lots of ways to enjoy themselves. A live band or DJ, casino tables, photo booths, magicians and caricaturists are all super-popular options.

Say cheese?

Say cheese?

Q. My dad is so camera-shy that he's asking not to be in any of our wedding photos! How can I reason with him while making him feel more secure about being snapped?

A. Sue Stephenson says: Sue says: This is quite an unusual question, as I have never come across a dad not wanting to be photographed! What I would say is to tell him what I have said to nervous couples in the past – they don't need to show anyone the images afterwards if they don't want to. Ultimately, the images are not really for them; they are for their future generations to see and for you to have a lasting memory of your dad at your special day. Also, ask him to consider how the family would feel if he weren't on any of the images. You should also consider having less traditional photos and more documentary-style shots instead. This way, he won't even know he's being photographed!

Second time around

Second time around

Q. My husband and I have been married 20 years and want to renew our vows. How can we make it feel like a wedding?

A. Lisa Wilson says: Lisa says: A vow renewal is a wonderful way to celebrate how far you've come and celebrate your special anniversary. With a celebrant-led renewal of vows ceremony, yours will be personalised. It can include special memories, the reasons why you are renewing your vows and old and new commitments to each other as you publicly declare “I still do.” You might wish to repeat the same vows you had in your original wedding ceremony or perhaps even use totally new words to express your love. The good news is there are no restrictions on the type of ceremony you can have – it can include all the traditions, modern twists, religious content, humour or something completely alternative, bold and real. Your ceremony can take place day or night, indoor or outdoor and doesn't have to be in a licensed venue. If you've dreamed of a ceremony on a beach, at your family home or at the place you first met – you can have it!

Cherished memories

Cherished memories

Q. My hubby-to-be's insisting we have a guestbook at our wedding, but I can't understand why! If we get a book, it'll get shoved in a cupboard and only read once in a blue moon. Is there anything else we can have that we can actually treasure on a daily basis?

A. Kay Nelson says: Kay says: There are so many great alternatives rather than an actual book, which can gather dust or get easily stored away. Ideas such as guests taking a selfie with an instant camera and sticking that on to a frame or leaving a message in a bottle to read in a year's time are also great.

Alternatively, why not speak to me about my business, Grace Holly Designs, which specialises in alternative guestbooks? Each piece of heart art is bespoke to the bride and groom and finished in a frame for you to hang on your wall. You can choose whatever colours and patterns you wish to match the theme of your wedding, whether it's boho chic or glam and glitzy. The hearts can be personalised, with wording such as names, initials, date or a lyric from your first dance song, and you can choose from either the write-around guestbook or the write-around fingerprint guestbook.

Sticky situation

Sticky situation

Q. We're having an outdoor wedding in the summer, and I wanted a cream and jam wedding cake. My sister says we'll be attacked by wasps! Is there an alternative?

A. Clare Koch says: Clare says: Since summer is the most popular wedding time, we cake-makers have to be prepared for any weather and condition. Research is sometimes necessary, but any cake that is outdoors is going to be susceptible to the elements. There's the worry of it being too warm and melting icing or rain spoiling it, so a cake at an outdoor wedding should be covered as much as possible. Insects are going to be attracted to any sweet food source, but you could possibly fill plant pots with repellent such as thyme plants, citronella or have peppermint oil in burners. With the trend continuing for naked/ semi-naked and buttercream finish cakes, this can be more worrying than other wedding cakes, as they don't have the support of a fondant finish and should definitely be discussed at the consultation.

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