You’re a few months into your wedding checklist and now that you’ve got the big suppliers like your wedding dress designer, wedding venue and wedding photographer in place, it’s time to turn your attention to your bridesmaids, groomsmen, stationery and details.

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Bridesmaids

First up, bridesmaids.There’s no rule to how many bridesmaid you have, but whether it’s one special friend or a mixture of sisters and school mates, we recommend you have at least one special person to help you on the day. Not only can she provide much-needed moral support, but she can be the contact between you and the venue’s co-ordinator, and deal with any problems that may arise! Organised girls who don’t get easily flustered make the best bridesmaids.

When choosing your bridesmaid dresses, consult them first and also think about the colours, shapes, sizes and lengths that will suit them. Consider having different styles in the same colour, or even different colours – mismatched bridesmaids are very in after all. If budget is tight, you could offer to pay for their dresses if they take care of the shoes and accessories. Alternatively, you could buy their dresses instead of a separate thank-you gift.

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Men’s suits

Next up, it’s the guys! Starting the search early for their suits means that all the men in the bridal party have time to get organised and get to their nearest formalwear store for fittings. The men’s accessories, (ties, cravats, waistcoats) traditionally take their lead from the colour scheme of the wedding, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. Just like your wedding dress, a groom’s suit should reflect his personality and the type of ceremony you’re having. If your groom is never out of trainers, for example, wouldn’t a brand new pair of Adidas be a quirky touch to his outfit? We’re also seeing a lot of bow ties this year, as well as funky suit linings which all make for brilliant photos.

Our three top tips for choosing your men’s suits are…

  1. Make sure the groom stands out. Whether it’s with a different coloured waistcoat, tie or cravat, your groom should look different to the other male members of the bridal party.
  2. Think about the type of wedding you’re having – top hat and tails will look out of place in a relaxed registry office ceremony.
  3. Consider the time of year. A professional menswear shop like Stephen Bishop Suiting, Hugh Harris Formalwear or Moss Bros will be able to advise you on the type of materials you should be considering, whether you’re getting married in the summer time, winter time or on a beach abroad.

The golden rule is that all hired suits should be tried on BEFORE the wedding day. Missing cufflinks, trousers that are too short in the leg… these are all very real big day dilemmas that can only be avoided if you check, check and check again!

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Stationery

When we talk about wedding stationery, we generally mean the following items…

  • Save the date cards
  • Invitations and RSVPs
  • Orders of service
  • Menus
  • Place cards
  • Table numbers or names
  • Thank you cards

Save the date cards should be sent out as soon as you’ve got a date – this could be 12 months in advance of the wedding, but it’s good to do so family and friends can schedule it in, and have time to find ways and sort their plans. There are many ways of announcing the date, from traditional cards to fridge magnets, tea towels and stamps. We especially love seed packet save the dates, where your guests can grow a flower from the seeds and bring it to the wedding!

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Invitations should be sent out 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding, but if you want personalised designs, it’s best to give your designer as much time as possible to produce them. In most cases, people see the invitations as a first glimpse of what lies ahead, and set the tone of the actual day right from the start – so get them right!

The invitation packs should include hotel or B&B idea for out-of-town guests, directions to the venue with a postcode for sat-navs, a request for any special dietary requirements, a dress code and details of your gift list. Some brides prefer to exclude their gift list details from the evening-only invitations but generally all guests will want to give you a little something, so have an idea in mind before they ask you.

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When it comes to wording your invitations, you can be as formal or as relaxed as you like. Traditionally the wedding invitation comes from the people who are hosting (paying for) the day. In years gone by, the bride’s parents would have been named first, like so:

Mr and Mrs [very generous parents’ surname] request the pleasure of the company of… at the marriage of their daughter….

But what if you have paid the majority of the bill?  We would suggest…

Miss [your surname] and Mr [his surname] request the pleasure of the company of…. at their marriage….

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Alternatively, you may have shared the costs with both sets of parents? Or your parents may be divorced? You’ll find more handy hints and tips for invitation wording in our planning section, but if you want to ask real brides what they’re doing, join our forum today.

When ordering your wedding invitations, you can look at the latest wedding stationery trends that suit your theme, and remember to think about the hidden costs of things like stamps and postage. Oversized or irregular shaped invitations may cost considerably more to post than normal letter-sized designs.  You should be aiming to get all RSVPs back from guests at least two weeks before the big day. This will enable your venue to finalise numbers if you’re having a sit-down meal. It should also give you a rough idea of numbers when you’re looking to decorate your reception venue.

Transport

From classic cars to tractors and trailers, we’ve seen all sorts of wonderful wedding transport here at Wedding Ideas. There are literally hundreds of ways to get to the aisle in style. One of our favourites was the bride who arrived at her Thailand beach wedding on top of an elephant! If you’re looking for something more traditional though, classic or sporty cars are still a favourite among today’s brides and grooms. But before you rush out to book that vintage Rolls, consider the time of year. Will a classic car be able to make it down a snow-covered country lane?

If budget is tight, why not ask a friend with a nice car to do the honours? Or if you’ve booked your ceremony and reception in one place you may not need transport at all. That way, you could hire a classic car a la William and Kate and leave the celebrations in style instead!

Our top tips for booking wedding transport would be…

  1. See the actual vehicle BEFORE you book or pay a deposit, so you can’t be blamed for scratches or dents after collection.
  2. The car may well be the backdrop to your photos, so make sure it’s in keeping with your colour scheme and wedding theme.
  3. Work out how many people need to travel to the venue. You may need two or three vehicles depending on how many bridesmaids you’ve got.
  4. Ask for a bottle of Champagne to be chilling in the back of the car so you and your new husband can have a celebratory drink on the way to the reception.
  5. As with all suppliers, double check your booking a couple of days before so you’re not left in the lurch!

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Cakes

Your wedding cake will be the centrepiece of your reception and seen in your wedding pictures for years to come. Whether you have traditional tiers, cool cupcakes, or even a cake made of cheese, you should start planning what it’s going to look like now!

Whether you want to blow the budget on your dream design (a la Choccywoccydoodah) or beat the budget with a high street option, we can help you find the right wedding cake for you. Budget options include making it yourself – satisfying but very stressful unless you fancy yourself as the next Mary Berry – or buying a high street design. Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and most major supermarkets offer their own plain iced versions of wedding cakes, which you can decorate at home. In most cases, these will do the job splendidly – just add some ribbon and fresh flowers and you have a tasty take-home treat for your guests.

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Another way to stretch the budget is with fake tiers. Just keep the top for cutting and build up the rest of the design with polystyrene layers to give a celeb look without the price tag. Cheese cakes are big news at country weddings, providing a late-evening snack for guests or the final course of the main meal instead of dessert.

Fruity and floral flavours are big this year, as are cake pops, cookies, personalised biscuits and more showing that you don’t have to stick with traditional fruit cake. Your wedding should be a feast for all the senses, so make sure your cake looks as good as it tastes!

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Watch out for our third part of our wedding planning checklist next week! Didn’t see our first one? Don’t worry, just click right here!

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