Love is in the air

Our top 5 tips on planning the wedding of your dreams…

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Yes folks, it’s that time of the year again, when shops, online retailers and colleagues’ desks are full of everything red! Dreary and depressing for some, but oh so exciting for others who’ve been waiting in anticipation ever since the letdown of a non proposal on New Year’s Eve! So ladies, were you one of the lucky ones to receive a sparkling diamond ring on the 14th February? A huge CONGRATULATIONS to you.

Now is the time to get planning for your big day, but where to begin? Here are my top five tips in the best order to get cracking to ensure this lovely engagement period is smooth and as stress free as possible.

  1. Choosing your wedding venue

First thing first, you can’t have a wedding without a wedding venue, so put this at the top of your planning list. Questions you should consider discussing with your fiancé before you call up for a visit are; where is the venue located? If far away, you’ll need to think about accommodation the night prior for yourselves, as well as places for friends and family to stay.

Are you dreaming of your drinks reception and photos outside in luscious greenery, or a modern barn setting where fun garden games and tug of war games take place? If so, look for a venue with plenty of outdoor space, but what is key is choosing a venue as much for its interior as its exterior. No one’s going to want to be sipping champagne and tottering around in high heels in the mud, so make sure you are prepared for all guests to be indoors and for your wedding photos to have an inside backdrop, unless you’re happy to put on fashionable wellies, grab a big brolley and enjoy the English rain!

BMA House has four gorgeous inside rooms, each licensed for both civil ceremonies and wedding receptions for up to 200 guests, together with two stunning outdoor spaces ideal for live music and your champagne and canape reception.

And talking about food…this WILL be the talking point for all your guests so ensure your venue offers the variety and cuisine you are hoping for. If you’re keen on serving your uncle’s best wine or your fiancé’s favourite craft beer, ask if the venue allows you to bring in your own alcohol and if they charge a corkage fee. And lastly, get as much help as possible, see if the venue offers an in-house wedding planner who can help plan your day, after all you’re likely to have never done this stuff before. BMA House offers a dedicated wedding planner to guide you on all aspects of planning your special day.

  1. Picking your perfect photographer

Good photographers will get booked up well in advance, so do look around as soon as possible so you can secure your photographer. Once your wedding is over, all you will have left are your memories of the day and photographs, so it’s important you choose the right person to photograph your special day, and in a style you’re comfortable with. Meet a range of photographers and ask to see some of their work, as well as browsing their online galleries.

Another popular option nowadays is to have an engagement photoshoot, which is a lovely opportunity for you both to meet your photographer and to get used to being behind a lens, bearing in mind this person will be with you all day from bridal preparation through until the first dance, you’re going to want to feel at ease with them.

  1. Bridesmaids

Choose them wisely and don’t take any abuse from friends and family if they feel hard done by if you’ve not chosen them as your bridesmaids. People can be funny when it comes to this subject, but stick to your guns; you’ve chosen your favourites for a reason. If you have close friends who you’d like to make part of your day, get them to help out in other ways, for example, doing a reading during your ceremony, helping you make your wedding favours, or assisting setting up your dining tables. This way you’ve involved everyone.

  1. Finding your ultimate wedding dress

Dress fitting is another daunting task, and usually the dress you’ve dreamed of since you were a young girl is often not the dress you’ll go for. Fittings need to be booked in advance, most bridal shops will not let you just turn up and try on a range of dresses, so make sure you book an appointment and take along mum or your chief bridesmaid as a second option is worthwhile.

Be wary when buying from places online and do checkout the supplier’s ratings, as some dresses can appear to be one thing, then when they turn up, many a bride I’ve known has been disappointed but the seller has not had a refund policy due to this being a bespoke dress. So my advice is do your homework and try it on before you buy.

Don’t rush into buying the first dress you see, you’ve got to be 100% happy with the style and fit. Your dress will be the first thing your guests will glance at when they see you walking down the aisle.

  1. Honeymoon destinations

Another big job, but a very exciting one to plan! With so many destinations to choose from, the first thing to think about is the time of year you are looking to jet off as this will condense your country search, for example, it’s unadvisable to travel to some parts of the Caribbean during their hurricane season.

I’m seeing more and more couples taking a ‘mini-moon’ immediately after their wedding, then going on a longer break months after. This is a nice idea as it allows you time to reflect on your wedding, see friends and family again the following day, to unpack and open up your cards and gifts…and still have something to look forward to later on in the year! This option is also good if you’re ideal honeymoon destination is in its rainy or stormy season around your wedding day, meaning it may not be ideal to fly out then.

Written by Rebecca Hurley

Contact us on 020 7874 7020 or email events@bma.org.uk

BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP

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