EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about wedding planning

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

Counting The Pennies

Counting The Pennies

Q How can we plan the perfect eco-wedding on a budget?
A Katie Livingstone-Evans Lowes says: Getting started: There are several tricks and steps you can take to plan a sustainable, unforgettable wedding without breaking the bank. Start by making a list of priorities and grab a pen and paper to calculate how much you hope to spend on your big day. Split everything into different categories to get an overview of how much all your wedding components might add up to and check if they fit within your budget. Once you have determined how much you can afford, you will be able to prioritise what is truly important to you. Have you always dreamt of tying the knot in a fairytale-like castle? Place it at the top of your list. Not too fussed about desserts? You can save money on the cake and opt for a cheaper sweet treat to end the banquet.

Rings: A wedding ring is what you need, at least symbolically, to actually get married. So it is only natural to want to find a classy piece of jewellery to seal such a special moment in your life. If you are looking for something unique but can't afford to overspend, think about opting for a vintage wedding ring. The good thing about vintage rings is that they are more sustainable than fresh, contemporary jewellery. This is because you are giving a new lease of life to a ring, rather than consuming a new product.

Flowers: From pastel and blushed-tone blooms to rich-coloured, vivacious sprouts, there are many types of flowers you can pick to adorn your ceremony. But if you want to do so sustainably and in an affordable fashion, choose seasonal flowers for your wedding. These are more readily available during their peak-growing season and will reduce the distance they need to travel to make it to your wedding, minimising your carbon footprint.

Katie Livingstone-Evans Lowes, Langley Castle Hotel

Style It Up

Style It Up

Q What are the latest venue styling trends for winter weddings?
A Jane Morland says: Venue styling trends are very exciting; think velvet tablecloths and mix and match centrepieces with depth from berries, pine, twigs and candles. Chunky log slices with splits filled with oasis and winter florals are also great for adding dimension to centrepieces. This can even be a good way to dress up a smaller wedding cake and cupcakes, which are now in favour.

Seating-wise, intimate top tables with just the newlyweds are popular, with decorations to match the centrepieces, adorned with lit tea lights inside glass baubles. Another nice touch is the return of the champagne fountain, which makes for an impressive photo opportunity. If you have access to an outdoor space, use it to create a snug with faux fur throws, cushions and a firepit. Why not add a hot chocolate station, complete with candy canes and glass bowls and jars offering different toppings?

Jane Morland, Margaret Rose Events

Plan in place

Plan in place

Q I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the planning process. What are your top tips for planning a stress-free wedding?
A Hannah Taylor says: Budget for the most important things first of all, then you know you're covered if you start to run out towards the end. Next, book your suppliers early – there's no reason to wait, so get your date in their diary now. Communication with guests is also key – guests are definitely the most difficult part of wedding planning! A wedding website is the best way to keep them updated, ad make it as easy as possible for them to return their RSVPs with dietary requirements and food choices. Also, now's the time to make it clear who's invited, from the whole family or adults only. Guests will also want to know what to wear, times, transport options, accommodation choices and location. Send your Save The Dates as soon as you've booked your venue and ceremony so they know well in advance!

Finally, book a wedding coordinator – you want to make sure everything that you've planned for months actually comes together on the day. Let them look after all of the logistical elements for you – because no-one should be stressed on their wedding day!

Hannah Taylor, The Wedding Taylor

Planning procedure

Planning procedure

Q My fiancé recently proposed, but I don't know where to start with the planning! What's the first thing I need to book and the best things to think about after that?
A Cat Richardson says: It's easy to feel overwhelmed with endless options when you first become engaged. That's why I always recommend you start by reflecting on what matters to you most. The first thing to think about booking is your reception and ceremony venue, as this will set your date and guest list. Next, consider your must-haves – this could be a country backdrop, certain location, or even a late license. Next, think about how you want everything to feel. For example, do you want formal and traditional – or relaxed and modern? However, before you visit any venues, it's essential to have considered your budget. As a loose rule, your venue and catering can be up to 50% of your overall budget, so having some figures in mind will certainly help focus your search. If you're still a little stuck it can be a good investment to work with a wedding planner in the areas that you need most support. How much help you need is up to you. Above all, it's your day, so do it your way!

Cat Richardson, Saying I Do

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Q We're getting married next December but don't celebrate the festivities. How do we prevent our wedding from looking Christmassy without coming across as a pair of Scrooges?
A Siobhan Noone says: An all-white wedding is my absolute dream colour scheme, and if you wanted to go down this route, winter is the perfect time to do just that! With this palette there'll be no Christmassy greens, purples or reds in sight. If that's not for you then winter is the perfect time of year to play around with neutral colour schemes, from light and dark greys to creams and Champagne.

Furthermore, don't be afraid of adding a rustic feel. In the world of weddings, we're all-too-guilty of associating a rustic theme with spring and summer celebrations. In fact, a rustic wedding can be just as charming in the winter. Imagine log cabins in the snow or sitting by a woodburning fire – even the smell of fresh pine trees. Winter isn't all about Christmas – it's the most romantic time of the year! Give your guests that cosy, fuzzy feeling we've all felt and love by incorporating rustic décor into your big day.

Siobhan Noone, Le Petit Chateau

Al fresco weddings

Al fresco weddings

Q We're planning to have an outdoor celebration, but I'm not sure where to start. Do you have any ideas?
A Donna Hartley-Redfearn says: If you're looking for a chilled and laid-back wedding infused with fabulous food, live music and a fire cracking atmosphere, then an outdoor wedding could be for you! Some people assume that hosting an outdoor event will not be within their budget, but this wedding style couldn't be more fun and gives you the ultimate freedom to embrace everything, including the weather.

After identifying the style you want to create, decide what structure you're after. There are many options from teepees, circus tents, classic marquees, and modern glass domes that scream elegance. Don't worry if you need power, as a generator and luxury bathrooms can be added. Once you have found the perfect setting, consider how the spaces can function on the day.

The next thing to consider is the catering options, including the menu and the dining experience you want guests to have – this could be relaxed street food, a roaring barbecue or formal dining. Remember that entertainment is vital in creating the perfect day; imagine a live band, ceilidh, or a DJ banging out tunes into the early hours of the morning.

If the idea of planning and pulling everything together stresses you out, think about securing a wedding planner that specialises in outdoor events to oversee the suppliers and coordinate the day.

Donna Hartley-Redfearn, North East Wedding Planner

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