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Welcome to our planning webchat with the Wedding Doctor

Hi everyone

Sarah Haywood is now online. She's got everything you need to know about planning your big day - whatever your style or budget is!

If you'd like to ask her a question, simply click "post reply" in this thread and type your question into the box. Her reply will appear in the same thread (but please bear with us if we get busy, your question will be answered as soon as we can!)

Enjoy yourselves




  • Hello Ladies

    I am looking forward to receiving your questions on anything and everything wedding related. Be it receptions, ceremony, styling, etiquette, flower and food queries, getting a good deal, or just general avoidng of bridezilla moments and over-stressing.

    So fire away and I will get the office cat off my knees!

    Sarah x

  • pigstarpigstar Posts: 221
    Hi Sarah,

    I really can't decide what colour theme to have for my wedding - I was going to go for a shimmery browny-green but the venue carpet is patterened and really green. Do you think this would look completely wrong?

    Alternatively, I was thinking about deep blue - is this a good colour for weddings? I am getting married in June 2009 so guess I need to find out which flowers are in season then and maybe that will help me decide?

    Thanks, Rachel x
  • Hi sarah,my name is hayley.i'm getting married in july 2010 and i have most things booked my dilemma is that i'm finding it hard to save money for it.i save it and because i know its there i keep taking it back.can you think of a way i can save without having that temptation of spending it? also i have a query involving my flowers....because my theme is everton football club(royal blue)im finding it hard to get royal blue flowers.i'd ideally like a lily shower bouquet what kind of flower would suit a lily and can i get in the colour i need?thankyou
  • mrswatson2bmrswatson2b Posts: 1,088
    I am getting married in a barn - it is really beautiful with lots of natural light so don't want to go OTT with decorations. I've been thinking that table decorations should be tall and thin due to high ceilings of the barn. Have looked at lily vases so far. Would you agree with this?

    Our colour theme is ivory, silver and purple we are getting married in August 09 do you have any flower suggestions. I prefer kind of wild, mid-summer night's dream kindof look, if that makes sense.

    Thanks and hope I haven't been too cheeky ansking too many questions
  • pigstarpigstar Posts: 221
    Hi Sarah, I have another question - how important is a toast master? If you're on a tight budget should you spend on this and save on something else?
  • nikki_ismenikki_isme Posts: 1,474
    Hi Sarah,

    Im getting married on Valentines day, so naturally our theme and flowers are going to be red and white roses. However, i dont want to 'over do it' and was wondering if you had any tips for decorating the room (ceremony and reception in the same place)

    Thanks, Nikki x
  • Dear Sonya

    My advice would be to carefully chose your predominant shade.

    Find the pink that you really like and decide what degree either way you will move. ANd let your florist and anyone assisting with any props know.

    There are a couple of great websites to help interior designers and printers create interesting colour pallets - one I sometimes use is : www.colourlovers.

    I hope you have a lovely day when it comes!

    Sarah x
  • SomethingfunnySomethingfunny Posts: 1,380 New bride
    Hi Sarah,

    I'm getting married in Mexico and having a reception in London but am wondering if we should send out wedding invites as most people can't make it to Mexico and we've spoken to the people that would want to come (ie. family & close friends). If we don't send out wedding invites when should we send out reception invites- and should we send them to the people coming to Mexico.

    Sorry to ask so much but I am also wondering about the wording of the reception invite as we want people dressed formally (we'll be in our wedding attire) and are worried people are going to assume they don't have to dress smartly because they're not coming to the actual wedding.

  • Hi Sarah,

    My H2B is struggling with his speech - what should he include in it? Is it etiquette for him to invite all male guests to take their jackets off before the meal?

    Thanking you in advance.
  • Dear Rachel,

    First of all you do not really have to have a colour 'theme' as such. You could keep it neutral so that you have more options and as you say - flowers is a great place to start. YOu can then start working with your predominant flower colour.

    I tend to try and avoid strong primary colours as you rather nail yourself down to an idea and then spend lots of time trying to work around it. But you can always colour coordinate so for exapmple you can use good strong colours on your stationery and keep to muted shades for the actual reception styling. And of course, if the ceremony and reception are not at the same venue they do not have to match (tbut it is good to tie them togther insome way)

    As for the carpet: always work with what you've got and do not battle against it. You are stuck with the green carpet - but it could be worse! I just told Soja about a great website to play with colour pallets called - have a play on that to see what colours you like and what might go with them.

    Happy wedding planning!

    Sarah x

  • I am having an alice in wonderland themed wedding and would like to come up with a really unique way of displaying my seating/table plan...i've thought about escort cards with the characters printed on them (we're naming tables after the characters) but do you have any other suggestions?
  • Hi Sarah

    My fiance and I are getting married next summer, in July. We're on a very tight budget, and we need to fill space in between the end of the ceremony (at 2.45) and a hog roast at 6pm.

    Can you give us any ideas?

    THanks very much

  • hi, im getting married july next year and have a coffee and cream colour. i would like to know what colour flowers would best suit?

  • hello sarah! been waiting for this webchat! the parents have offered to pay for our wedding but i worry they cant afford it...we arent having anything ott its just that they werent planning for it. how can broach the subject without offendng them. also i'm thnking of giving african violets as wedding favors to go along with the african fusion i'm trying to achieve and also marks love of gardening..where can i get a 100 of them on a budget? thank you very much!

    [Modified by: engagedprincess on July 30, 2008 04:42 PM]

  • Quoted:
    Hi Sarah

    My fiance and I are getting married next summer, in July. We're on a very tight budget, and we need to fill space in between the end of the ceremony (at 2.45) and a hog roast at 6pm.

    Can you give us any ideas?

    THanks very much


    Hi, ive got the same problem, im getting married at 3.30 but decided against a traditional sit down meal and just having a buffet later on. We were thinking maybe strawberries and cream just to keep the guests going until later.
  • Dear Hayley

    You absolutely have to nip in the bud your bad spending habits and stop raiding the wedding fund!

    Here's what to do (and this is what I do for my clients so it works):

    1) Set a REALISTIC budget. The decide how you are going to save that amount in the time you have.

    2) Open a wedding account with your bank and deposit regular monthly amounts.

    3) If you have not already done so, do not be shy about asking both sets of parents if they plan to contribute to the wedding fund and if so what. If it is cash put the money in a high interst savings account - there are some good rates now for long terms savers and that's what yoy are if the wedding is not until 2010.

    4) For my free and downloadable Budget Checklist go to the Planning Tools page at

    There are columns on it for budgeted amount and real cost. As soon as the real cost exceeds the budgeted amount you have to claw that cash back by reducing what you'll spend on another area of the wedding. And so it the moment you start to overspend.

    If you stick to this and constantly make sure the 'books balance' and do not raid the wedding fund you will come in on budget. And if you can learn to do this you will also manage your money properly in the years ahead- a very valuable life skill!

    I will come back to you at the end to answer your colour query as I can see there is a queue!

    Happy budgeting!

    sarah x

  • That's a good idea!

    I'm worried that people will be just standing around thinking...what's next.

    We might have speeches, cut the cake and the 1st dance in that time - probably leading on to the real dancing,

    But how do I get people to sit down again and eat ?

  • macysmummacysmum Posts: 3,230
    hi sarah. my theme is black and white, we have decided on a few thigs but struggling with flower/centrepiece ideas fr this theme. i thought that black vases with white flowers would look good (also contempory theme) but the cost is ust so high.

    also how can i introduce black to the flowergirls without it looking sily as they will all be 1-6 yrs old.

    The last dilemma is that my dress is light ivory strapless with a lace up back how can i add black? not sure that a sash will go with it being lace up......thats all i think.

  • Dear Mrs Watson2B

    High table arrangements is exactly what to do here. It also means that in the photos you can actually see the flowers. And the lily vases mean that views across the table are not blocked so the conversation keeps flowing.

    August will still see some lavender around as well as Lily of the Nile, Globe Thistle, Verbana, Gentian Violets (I had those for my wedding bouquet!) and Cosmos... ask your florist for more ideas too as the choice is ever expanding from speciallity growers and importers.

    I hope your day is lovely when it comes - it sounds as y uare on the track.

    Sarah x

  • Dear Rachel

    Toastmaster: absolutely not necessary if you are on a tight budget (their professional association will now be at me!).

    Think if you have a relative or guests who is good and loud on their feet who can act as a Master of Ceremonies.

    The function is still an important one as it keeps the event flowing and momentum building: it's never good to have silences when no-one knows what they are meant to be doing.

    Use moments like the cake cutting and first dance as punctuation points to get the event moving to the next phase and have the MC announce everything. For example move from the speeches to the first dance seemlessly or from the cake cutting to the announcement of the wedding breakfast etc.

    Good luck and have a great day when it comes.

    Sarah x
  • I'm having my lovely uncle as the toast-master - he's really pleased to be involved.
  • hunnypothunnypot Posts: 14
    Hi Sarah

    I have two questions hopefully you can help. I'm having a 5 year old niece being a flowergirl and her mum wants me explain what she has to do to her, I haven't really got a clue what I'm meant to say.

    2nd question is between the wedding breakfast and evening reception what can I do for entertainment or do I should I just let the guest mingling between themselves.

  • Hi Sarah

    I've got a gorgeous silk shift dress, with lace overlay, but it has very little internal structure, there's no boning or anything. I have a bit of a tummy, and although i hope that i might lose a bit of weight for the day i'm going to be most-photographed, I think i need something underneath, like a boddice. But I can't find anything, and even things which look ok, are so expensive. Any recommendations?

  • pigstarpigstar Posts: 221
    Thanks for the tip - I'll have a think about who to ask... will need to find someone who won't get too drunkimage
  • Dear Mrs Cook2B

    I am now going to give the basic advice I give to nearly everyone: keep it simple. It is a clich???? - but also true - that less really is more. If you opt for beautiful flowers - and put your money in the flowers not in the bells and whistles stuff like favours (and believe me ladies - at nearly every wedding they are left behind for us to clear away), hire in crisp white or ivory linens and plain tableware and you will be making a fantastic statement.

    As the interior designers always advise - a couple of 'accent pieces' can work well. So maybe floral or dried flower chair backs for the top table, interesting place cards (or calligraph the menu cards to double up as place cards) using interesting stationery (perhaps in with the Valentine theme) and candles always work well to add a touch of romance.

    Hope you have lovely Valentine wedding!

    Sarah x
  • Hi Sarah,

    Have you got any good ideas for displaying Escort Cards? They are going to be mini-cards from Moo

    with names on the front and table number on the back - ie they won't be folded. I think that laying them flat would be a bit boring and lack any impact, so was looking for some other ideas!

  • Dear Shantelle,

    It's all on the wording of your invites with this one. It is always a good idea for both the style of an invitation and the text to reflect the formality of the occasion.

    So for your Mexico (how lovely) wedding the invite is clearly just that - a wedding invitation.

    The London reception you could state it is a 'wedding celebration' or a 'reception to celebrate the marriage of .... to .... "

    You can even add a dress code - that is usually indicated on the bottom right hand corner directly opposite the RSVP details. So you can say "dress for a party" if that is what you want.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Happy planning!

    Sarah x
  • Dear Pumpkin Flower (I love the names some of you give yourselves!),

    Traditionally the Groom uses his speech to thank the bridesmaids for all the help and support they have given you and for performing their duties so beautifully: traditionally it is the bridesmaids he should toast at the end of his speech (and the Best Man is responding on their behalf).

    He should also thank anyone not thanked by the bride's father (so ensure they liaise beforehand) for traveling to the wedding and anyone who has helped is also mentioned. It is nice to thank the caterers (if they deserve it) for the meal!

    Usually the mothers are also thanked and presented with either flowers or a gift. And hopefully he says something lovely about his new bride!

    If he is nervous just tell him to keep it brief and from the heart. It's the Best Man's job to be the funny one!

    Have a great day...

    Sarah x
  • Dear Rilou 81

    Contrary to popular opinion it is not actually cheaper for a venue to put on a wedding on a week day: the overheads are the same, wages and supplies, food and drink cost exactly the same and it can actually be more difficult to get casual staff as they are at their regular jobs on a week day... they may even have to pay overtime to staff who generally take Mondays off due to it being the traditional quiet day.

    That being said however, it never hurts to ask! (But also accept a refusal graciously.) Extra business is still extra business but they will only want to offer it if they make a reasonable profit (and I know it is rather unromantic remember that your special day is actually someone else's way of earning a living!).

    I think the silver is a perfect choice!

    Good luck with the negotiating.

    Sarah x

  • Dear Emmabearbaby

    Wat a fun idea. I love the suggestion of the characters on the escort cards. How about asking your florist to make you tree from say willow and hang the cards from it. Or a 'Mad Hatters Tea Party' table with the cards stuck in mini cakes or sandwiches (my assistant does not like the sandwich idea as she says hey could curl - but it is the effect we are going for here!). Or have another read of the book for a 'scene setter' hat you could use as the theme for the escort cards.

    Good luck!

    Sarah x

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