Started organising your dream wedding? These hacks will make it a whole lot easier!
Save-the-dates, invites and RSVPs
#1 For cheaper invites, buy a downloadable PDF (have a look on sites such as Etsy or NotOnTheHighStreet) and print it out locally.
#2 Write guests' names on the back of your RSVP cards before posting them out. This will avoid any confusion if they reply by post and forget to say who they are!
#3 Remember: you don't need to provide an invite per person. Instead, think one invite per couple or family, addressed to all the relevant people - this will effectively cut numbers in half, as well as saving you a fortune in unnecessary postage!
#4 Proof-read all your stationery before it is printed. This will spare you having to fork out twice to cover-up any unfortunate typos - enlist the spell-check skills of your partner and friends/family, too.
#5 When it comes to sealing the envelopes: use a brush and water to spare your tongue the risk of paper cuts. If you need to re-open an envelope: pop your envelope in a freezer bag and leave to chill for two hours. You should then be able to slide it open - go slow and steady in order to avoid tearing.
#6 Consider a venue where you can get married and hold your reception. This will - in theory, at least - cut the cost of booking two seperate venues, as well as meaning your guests don't need to get from Venue A to Venue B.
#7 Put together your table plan by using Post-It notes: this will mean you can move around people without having to keep starting from scratch.
#8 Once you've found the difference, investigate what the price differences are for booking during peak-season (spring/summer) and off-season (autumn/winter), as well as between a weekend wedding and a week-day celebration.
#9 Don't be afraid to ask the staff at their venue for their insights. What sort of decorations do they normally think work best - and can you see photos? Where would they recommend you display the cake for maximum visibility (and safety from drunk uncles)? Utilise their experience and make it work to your advantage!
#10 Before you book your venue, check that you can use suppliers other than the ones they recommend. Whilst it's great to work with recommendations in mind, it's also good to have the flexibility to bring in your own vendors, too.
#11 Weather forecast for your big day looking hot, hot, hot? Make sure your venue is able to cope with keeping your guests cool (for example, you might need to hire air-con units) - and look at the details you can easily deal with yourself. For example, turn your Orders of Service into plans, and also buy-in cheap cover-ups for outdoor seating that will heat up in the sun.
#12 Invest in weights to stop your skirt and veil from flying upwards on the off-chance your celebration is hit by a gust of wind - your bridesmaids might also appreciate, these too. The Queen reportedly swears by them! Similarly: heel protectors will prevent any awkward moments if you have to walk on muddy grass.
#13 Keep your eyes peeled for sample sales: even if you've already got your wedding dress, they're a great way to find accessories, veils and outfits for the bridal party at lower prices.
#14 Don't be afraid to book in trial sessions with make-up counters in department stores - this is a great way for you to try new products and work out how much you do (or don't) want to wear make-up-wise on the big day.
#15 Break in your bridal shoes with the help of socks and a hair dryer (in a nutshell: wear thick socks whilst wearing the shoes; blast with your hair dryer to soften the leather). To minimise slippery soles, rub heels and the underside with sandpaper.
#16 Get rid of any static on your dress by slowly running the long side of a coat-hanger down it - just make sure it's clean first!
#17 Partial to a glass of red wine or three? Avoid the dreaded red-tooth side effect by sipping on carbonated water in between mouthfuls - the bubbles will help keep your teeth clean.
#18 Wearing heels? Bring flat shoes, too. As super-human as you may feel on your wedding day, your feet will ultimately let you down. Spare any hobbling horrors by bringing a pair of super-comfy flip-flops or pumps.
#19 Invest in one of these to make going to the toilet a piece of (wedding) cake rather than a nightmare ensemble moment involving all of your bridesmaids...
#20 Find the 'golden' angle for holding your wedding bouquet before you walk down the aisle - that is to say, the angle that shows off the most of your blooms and will photograph the best.
#21 Give your guests favours that are useful: whether they're something that can be used straightaway at the reception (such as a customised glass they can take up to the bar), or a snack they can enjoy on their way home.
#22 Want to cut-back on the cost of your flowers? Buy blooms from wholesale markets - but only if you're confident with arranging them yourself (or have a friend who can step up). Make sure you work this out in plenty of time before your wedding date; otherwise, if things don't work out, you'll be left scrambling to book a florist in time.
#23 Vases of floating flowers look incredible - must be pretty pricey, right? Nope: all you need to do is wrap bubblewrap around the stems to keep the flowers a'floating. Easy!
#24 Outdoors venue? Pick details - such as candles, air fresheners and room spray - that contain insect repellant scents, such as citronella, lavender or mint.
#25 This is cheeky but smart: ask your guests to address their envelopes for their thank-you notes at your reception. Will save you time and will guarantee you don't need to chase any stray postcodes...
#26 Scour charity shops. This might be a no-brainer to you but equally, if the thought of second-hand makes your nose wrinkle up ever-so slightly, think again - you can find endless gorgeous decorations at very cheap prices.
#27 Bring the decorations from your ceremony over to your reception venue. This will not only cut costs but will also keep the theme seamlessly running from one location to the other.
#28 Ask someone to film the speeches. You'll be on such a cloud of happiness that you might not take them in properly first time round!
#29 Create a DIY photobooth area to help you cutdown on the cost of hiring one; also, set up a wedding hashtag. On the subject of photography: scope out all the beautiful locations around your venue you want to have your formal pictures taken after your ceremony.
#30 Make sure your bridal party have the phone numbers of all your suppliers who you'll be awaiting deliveries from on the wedding day - this will mean you're spared hanging around on the phone when you should be getting ready.
#31 Decide ASAP what your policy on kids is - are you inviting them or not? Let your guests know as soon as you can to guarantee no one is able to pull the 'couldn't find a babysitter' card. People will only be irritated if it's a last-minute decision so be upfront about your policy from the off. If you are inviting kids, have activity packs to keep them entertained throughout the duller moments of the day.
#32 Don't be afraid to haggle with your suppliers: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
#33 Set up a wedding-only email address, that you and your partner can both access and use to keep wedding emails seperate to your 'normal' emails.
#34 Moodboard the details. Consider everything you want out of the ceremony - from specific photography ideas to decoration details, do your research and get it all down in one place (cough: Pinterest) to make sure you don't forget anything you want.
#35 Sign up to as many money-saving newsletters as possible (use your wedding email address if you want to avoid an influx of emails) and keep your eyes peeled for any relevant offers or discounts.