“It’s all so new to us! Do you have any advice?”  That was the cry of help we had recently from a bride in the throes of the run up to her wedding; there are so many self-help blogs and advice columns and magazines and trends and …..

So we sat down and thought about all the advice we’d seen, all the conversations we’d had with brides (and grooms), the get-togethers we’d attended with others from the industry and distilled that down to a few tips, hints.  None of it is scientific, some of it is a bit contentious & it’s not in any order, but here goes…

Your parents will want to get involved which is a great thing for them to do; they just need managing!  Just like everyone else, they need to know WHAT you want and how.  There will, almost inevitably, be frustrations, niggles and tears in the whole process (getting him to propose was the least of your worries!) so treat them with respect and as a fountain of good sense – even if some of it isn’t.  Treat them kindly but firmly – your day, your way is fine but don’t let that stop you listening.

Talking of listeningset up an email account that the important people have access to  – parents, best man (men), brides maids etc.  Use that to collate information, set up tasks (so a diary function would be good), swop information etc.  Google mail or Hotmail are probably the easiest.

You might find that setting up your own wedding site is helpful (especially if you have friends and relatives coming from overseas).  There are quite a few out there and the best ones will allow you to add maps, travel directions, suggested places to stay … all the little details that help to run your wedding that bit smoother. There’s also the opportunity to write about yourselves and how you met ….

There are loads and loads of wedding magazines and so many more blogs that it can be confusing (and not a little expensive) to read, inwardly digest and decide what works for you both.  The wedding industry, however you dress it up, is about one day, continuously repeated, which is incredibly important to the participants and therefore littered with exclamation marks!  Glamorous dresses!  Wonderful flower arrangements!  If you get beyond that, there are a raft of very good blogs that are worth looking at; you’ll find many others out there and you will find your own style.  Any decent newsagent will stock the most popular wedding magazines (they’ll have an on-line edition but sometimes it’s important to actually feel the magazine) – WH Smith, Tesco Extra, Sainsbury, Waitrose to suggest just a few.  Take a few editions and you will soon see which ones you keep coming back to.  However, a word of warning: about 3 months before your wedding, stop reading!

You’ve chosen the venue and wedding planner (if you are having one) – now go and make friends with them & keep them informed of what you want. We all work better for friends, after all we all want the same thing for you and your wedding.

You will draw up a timing plan and some things you’ll not be able to move – the wedding ceremony is at this time and that’s it!  Treat all other times as flexible – wedding meals may start late, speeches can take longer than anyone expects (but do tell them that they have X number of minutes) …. and your mother / grandmother / aunt will want that special word just when you had planned to …….  So, try and be flexible (or at least be relaxed if things don’t work out as you had thought).

Finally, wedding gifts. Wedding gift lists are wonderful – bring the idea up to date by drawing up an on-line wedding list (there’s still the danger of receiving two toasters if you don’t make your wishes known).  Good sites allow guests to club together to buy something – we were at a wedding recently where the five brides maids had clubbed together to “gift” the photo booth for the night as a suprise – fabulous!

AND FINALLY – make it a rule that you will go away together every 6 months (and especially before the wedding) where talking about your wedding plans are completely forbidden – the wedding is just one day, the marriage is forever.