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Welcome to our planning webchat

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



  • Excuse me being early, am just leaving work!!

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for joining us today. I was wondering if you could help me with what seems to be quite a unique problem I have...

    We have our wedding venue exclusive hire and that includes the 44 bedrooms and my problem is how exactly we should communicate this to our guests; there are some people we want to ask to stay (they will not need to pay) and some we won't!

    Firstly; for the guests we want to stay, should we hand deliver their invite and discuss with them or should we put a little card in the invite? Is there another way that might be better?

    Secondly; for the people we're not asking to stay, how should we tackle this on the info sheet in the invites? Should we leave out accommodation all together? And what if we're asked if they are rooms available or how come all the rooms are booked up? What do we say??!!

    I know it'll probably come out and people will have to accept that close family and friends are staying, but feels a bit awkward at the moment!!

    Sorry for rambling, hope this all makes sense to you and you can help me figure out a sensible plan of action!

    Many thanks, Amber x

  • Dear Amber

    This is a common dilemma. I think what you are asking is - is it ok to ask some people to pay for their rooms whilst others are receiving them gratis. The answer to that is 'yes'.

    I would suggest working out how much you are charging for the rooms that are going to be offered up for booking and asking the hotel to take the bookings for you (this is what I do and most are happy to help you so long as you guarantee to pay for any rooms that are not used).

    For those guests you are inviting to stay add a little note in with the invitations telling them their accommodation has been taken care of as they are part of the wedding party.

    I hope this answers your question.

    Happy Wedding Planning!

    Sarah x
  • .. Amber - I have just thought of something to add to my answer... (Sorry - was in too much of a hurry!)

    If enclosing an accommodation list with your invitations you might need to give some options for overflow guests of other nearby places to stay. So you could say on that:

    "There are a limited number of rooms available at the "name of venue' at £xxx per room. Other nearby accommodation is available at:

    List of local hotels and b+bs with phone numbers, web links and rates.

    Hope this helps.


  • Hi Sarah,

    We are getting married in Edinburgh in November and although we have booked the venue, photographer and band (most important things to us), we have no idea where to go next! Would you have any ideas for colours or themes that would work well at this time of year?

    Any help would be much appreciated,

  • Hi Sarah

    My partner and I are looking into getting married at St Pauls catherdral, the crypt section holds 350 people and so far we only have 65 people on our list for the reception back in Kent (we were possibly thinking of laying on a coach for guests) There are lots of people - mainly work people from London - that we would like to invite to the ceremony but then because of limited numbers wouldn't be able to accomodate them at the wedding long winded question is.....

    A. Is it rude to invite people just to the ceremony? How should this be worded on the invites?

    B. Is it out of the question to invite people to the ceremony and evening reception (minus the meal) bearing in mind that the ceremony is in London and the evening reception in Kent?

    Hope that all makes sense, any advice appreciated

    Faye x
  • Hopes_MammyHopes_Mammy Posts: 5,839
    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for the wonderful advice you gave me last year about incorporating the lighting of a rememberance candle into our ceremony!

    Im now after some more advice if its ok! Id like your opinion on how to go about mixing tables as my H2B's family are very young clicky and dont mix well and my family are a bit old fashioned and also dont mix very well!

    Any guidance please?



  • Hopes_MammyHopes_Mammy Posts: 5,839
    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for the wonderful advice you gave me last year about incorporating the lighting of a rememberance candle into our ceremony!

    Im now after some more advice if its ok! Id like your opinion on how to go about mixing tables as my H2B's family are very young clicky and dont mix well and my family are a bit old fashioned and also dont mix very well!

    Any guidance please?




    we are thinking of having silent fireworks as our venue doesnt allow normal firworks.

    Have you seen any of these?

    Would you say that they still wow or are they a waste of money?


  • clujucluju Posts: 2,843
    I feel like there's something that we should have done that we haven't I was wondering if you can help. We get married on the 28th June and so far we've booked the church, priest, reception venue, photographer, dj, car to church and onto the reception, and someone to make our cake (will be designed in detail nearer the time). We've got a meeting with hte priest to do all the paper work on his side this weekend, I have an appointment to give notice (H2B either doesn't need an appointment or he can't book one yet it depends on who we talk to as he's in scotland so can't give notice till march 28th anyway). The parish organist is booked and the flower group are happy to do the church flowers but we need to meet them nearer the time. A florist is meant to be calling me back to make an appointment to sort out bouquets and button holes. I've ordered my dress and those for my bridesmaids, the suit fitting is booked (page boy suits will be bought much closer to the date or they'll grow out of them). I've made the invites and designed the order of service covers so these still need making and I know we need to decide on readings hymns and music at the church, but what else is missing?

    Sorry for rambling

    many thanks

    Clare x

    p.s. any suggestions what to give 4 and 6 year old page boys to occupy them as they walk down the aisle are also greatfully recieved they don't want to carry the rings as the older one says thats the best mans job (he was his dads best man last year) and we have to make him do his fair share too
  • i am having major concerns about decorating my enormous evening venue -

    it is going to be a Latino themed wedding with lots of red and gold and salsa dancing.

    however we have a not large budget (about 1,000) to do food, drinks, and decor for about 170 people. however 110 of those will have just had a 4 course meal about 2 hours before...

    any ideas?!?!

    especially any ideas as to how to prevent the venue from looking quite so 'functional' and a bit more elegant...?

    so far I have:

    red & gold petals, tea lights, lots of lots of red and gold ribbon, some strings of fairy lights, two lattice fence types things, and some ivory drapes...

    please help me make my venue less obviously blue and officey!!!

  • riallewsriallews Posts: 254
    Hi Sarah,

    We're getting married in october in Craig-Y-Nos Castle, just a small ceremony with 30 people maximum, including us and the bridal party! My question sis this:

    our venue's theatre (where the ceremony is held) can hold about 80 people, and Im afraid that everyone will feel a bit like there's no one there with so much space around them! Is there any way we could fill the room up or space them out to make the room feel a little bit more... well, cosy i guess?

    The co-ordinator is really helpful and has already said she'll put out an extra ten or so seats so that people can spread out rather than sitting squished together, so I'm sure she'd be open to suggestions, but i'm on a bit of a budget here!

    many thanks,

  • nanauknanauk Posts: 990
    Hello Sarah,

    Can you please give me some advise regarding flowers. I am getting married abroad (Cyprus) and I am on a budget and have considred taking silk flowers with me and if I do I will give my guests (26) buttonholes. I f I get real flowers abroad I won't give out buttonholes. I am so afraid I will regret not having real flowers, can you give me any advise? I have some samples of silk flowers , had them made into a childs bouquet but with them it is hard to imagine what a bridal bouquet will look like.

    Thank you

  • Hello Cyril!

    Edinburgh - one of my favorite cities -what a great choice. Scotland in winter is so romantic that I'd go with a warm winter colour scheme (but only if it works with the room: a;ways work with what yo;ve got rather than against it when thinking of a colour scheme or theme). So deep colours would be the starting point and start with the flowers.... Winter roses (there is a Christmas rose) or amarylis work well. Or early varieties of hyacinth, tulip and narcissus. Or how about some southern hemisphere exotics such as protea, kangaroo paw (look them up on line if you are not sure what they look like!)? And of course winter foliages such as hollyberry and leucadendron whoch could be used to add a splash of colour if you opted for white flowers...

    Also add golds or reds and remember they can be in the overall colour pallet and used in your outfits as well as reception styling.

    But ensure you've got the basics covered: hiring suppliers, menu planning, transport, outfits then start to work omn the details and you'll find those ideas sart flowing when everything else is in place.

    Have a great day when it comes.


  • Hi sarah,

    i am really worried about the budget for my wedding, we are getting married in Richmond in Surrey, in quite a nice hotel, however now everyone thinks that we are having a really posh wedding, and i am worried that people are going to be dissapointed about what we are really this normal, and do you have any advice that will calm me down a bit?????



  • Hi Sarah,

    I have pretty much my entire wedding planned and booked and now im at the stage where i feel everything is going far to well as it has all been plain sailing. Im thinking of taking out wedding insurance as a just incase. Would you recommend i do so? I get married in August, when should i get insured? Im picking my dress up in March and my hoop isn't instore yet so worried it wont be there or something will go wrong. ie. if i aint insured before i collect the dress, do i have nay comeback if something is wrong with it? Similarly waiting on wirtten confirmation from some people - can you still be insured against the unexpected if you are booked with a company but have no written records apart from theirs? In this case im talking about my band and bridesmaids car??

    Thanks for reading my ramblings!
  • Hi everyone

    Because Sarah is proving so popular she is having a little bit of trouble on the site today - she will answer all your questions as soon as she can...

    Keep chatting and make the most of her expertise

  • Sorry girls - the site keeps crashing on me!

    Faye and Paula - your answers got lost and starting again with Faye. I will answer everyone - it just might be a while!


    PS Please don't forget the special offer only available to YYW chat room members of £65 discount off my next Wedding Gurus workshop - details are on this site somewhere!

    Vaild until 6pm tomorrow I'dd love to meet you all!


  • vics8vics8 Posts: 1,873
    Hi Sarah,

    I'm getting married on the 20th December this year and need help finding a few items to complete the look i'm going for.

    The first is some fairy lights for our marquee. The best way to describe them are like spidar swags that centre around the chandelier and fan out and around.

    I've contacted a few companies but they are either too far away to collect (as the won't post as too delicate) or if they do post charge nearly £100 postage (to Kent).

    Any ideas?

    The second is a snow machine so we really do have a white wedding and christmas. I've contacted Snow Business who were great and we were ready to hire one until the postage issue raised it's ugly head again.

    They are based a few hundred miles from us, so collection and delivery is not really achieveable and the postage costs (as they said had to be through Business post) was going to add another £250-£300 to the cost.

    Again any ideas of other companies who could help?

    The final idea i've not even got around to yet is that of a dry ice machine. Again any help will be gratefully received.

    Sorry for waffling on and thank you

    Vicky xxx
  • thank you for being so helpful and thorough Sarah. we will wait patiently for your wisdom! by the way, i love ur top in the picture.
  • Hello ...

    Apologies I'm quite new to this, and I hope I pass the test!

    For a couple of years, since my Grandmother Died - I've been harbouring a desire to get married on what was her birthday - 17th March. This is special for another reason - it's also the date she and my grandfather got married...

    Anyway, my other half proposed on Christmas Day and we initally agreed that March 17th 2009 was the date. Now the planning is beginning, I'm wondering if in fact a Tuesday wedding is a good idea.

    I think it's great in budget terms, but H2B feels that by doing it on this day we'd actually be inconveniencing our friends as family. He knows it's a special date, and is happy with it in himself, but feels uncomfortable with inviting guests on what is a midweek party...

    Is my first choice the right choice? Are weekday weddings frowned upon in any regard?

    If I decide to press ahead, how is it best to handle a Tuesday Date wedding invitation.

    Many thanks...

  • Dear Faye

    Sorry - but it is a complete 'no no' to invite people just to the ceremony. It;s just not done... you'd for sure come into some criticism for it. And if someone is not important enough to share the celebration ten why do you want them there anyway? Sorry if this sounds harsh but I'd rather answer your question honestly and directly than have you come in for criticism about your wedding because I gave you bad advice...

    But it is not out of the question to invite people to the ceremony and evening reception (minus the meal) - but make sure they get a different invitation (to overcome this you could have separate ceremony and reception invites). But if you are asking people to travel twice in one day - and some distance - ensure the evening reception is early enough to make it worth it and that you do offer food as well as drink.

    But think carefully about the transport idea. It could cause confusion if it's not there outside the Cathedral for everyone and it rather segregates your guests into a List and B List....

    Safest thing is ceremony and A list is all one lot of people and anyone only coming to evening reception is not invited to the ceremony. But that has to be your call.

    I do hope I've been of some help...

    I am sure you'll work it out and have a lovely day when it comes.


  • Hi Sarah,

    I have a big quite loud jewish family, and my fiance has a much smaller catholic family. ie all his family will equal about 15 guests, and mine is about 60 or so...

    We are having a blessing ceremony by a rabbi following a civil ceremony, which my other half is happy with, but I'm concerned that his family will feel left out or alienated. Can you suggest any ways we can include them in the day? NB we're not having any bridesmaids or groomsmen in order to save money, and as we want the wedding to be quite informal.

  • Dear Paula

    Lovely to talk to you again...

    Simple answer - if your families can't be mixed then don't mix them. Have them on tables of their own - there are no rules to state this is not an option!

    Happy Wedding Planning - hope the candle idea works for you....


  • Thanks Sarah, thats just as I thought and pleased to have that clarified by a pro organiser! Good luck with answering all the other questions. Faye x
  • Dear Nicola

    Silent fireworks - they're ok. I would not spend a fortune on them as the impact is never as good and you do not get the 'oohs and ahs' you get with the big bang variety. But they look pretty.

    It's a bit like getting a Tesco 'finest' Victoria Sponge instead of a wedding cake: it tastes fine but there's something not quite the same about it!

    Have a great day - fireworks or not!

    Sarah x

  • Dear Cluju

    Yo are in great danger of over-stressing! You have covered it all. From now until the wedding ensure there is a wedding free zone you visit in your house to clear your head and have at least one wedding free evening a week with your intended and go out (just for a pizza or to the cinema) and do not talk about the wedding!

    Also watch out - you are the very type of bride that the cosmetics industry will now target. They wait until now when they know you have everything else in place, but because you have been so busy wedding planning you feel that you should be doing something. Well if you have properly planned your wedding there will be some down time as the day approaches. This is when they'll get you to spend on their products to ensure you look gorgeous. You will look gorgeous without the £80 pot of miracle cream.. .You have been warned...

    All brides to be if you remember nothing else I have ever said remember this: DO NOT SPEND TO ALLEVIATE PRE-WEDDING NERVES.

    As to page boys. It might be best to get them to carry nothing but just hold each others hands... young children often refuse to do or carry what they've been told to as they get nervous. It's also a good idea to rehearse them if you can the day before or even on the day itself if their parents can arrange that. Many a young flower girl and page boy have been in tears on a wedding day as it become all too much for them - so the less you plan for them the less they stress about how to do it!

    Have a great day - you've clearly got it all covered - now enjoy yourself!

    Sarah x

  • Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your answer, sorry took me so long to answer, just home from work.

    No we wouldn't ask for some to pay and some not, there are 44 bedrooms which accomodate 88 people and 110 people coming to the wedding. So we want to ask, say 88 people to come say, free, but we know theres the extra 22 which won't be asked to stay and won't be able to book a hotel room.

    So the issues are, how to ask the guests who are staying? hand deliver invite and explain or do a little card on the invite etc?

    And for those who won't be able to stay, should we just leave out accomodation in the info sheet, what if they ring to book a room to find its exclusive hire and can't, how should we handle it if they ask about accomodation etc.

    Sorry prob didn't explain myself properly! do you have any experience of this?

    Many thanks x
  • Dear Ria,

    I would not worry too much about the space you are holding the ceremony in mainly because everyone is facing forward! It sounds too easy or obvious an answer, but if you just fill the space immediately before everyone they really will hardly notice once the ceremony is underway.

    If using flowers go for one really large display that is eye-catching rather than several smaller ones that will just be lost... have it placed to the side opposite where you will be (just make sure it does not hide you!). And mention this concern to your florist who may offer an additional solution.

    But also remember that as you are in the ceremony a far shorter time than the reception room do not go too overboard and blow the budget there.

    Happy Wedding Planning!

    Sarah x
  • Hi Sarah

    I get married next year, but have been starting the planning and was wondering if we should be paying for accommodation for the bridal party (bridesmaids, best man and ushers) or if they would expect to pay for themselves. Reason for asking is that I am a bridesmaid for a close friend this year and she is providing accom for myself and H2B along with the other 2 bridesmaids, I wasn't expecting this. This isn't something I was expecting to have to pay for so haven't allowed for it within our budget.

    Also, our venue as light sage green walls (just where the wedding breakfast is taking place) and I was thinking of a blue colour scheme, but am concerned this won't go - can you let me know what you think? I was intending to have chair covers and sashes to match the colour scheme and need to avoid pinks and reds due to bridal party colourings.

    Many thanks in advance for your help and advice

    P x
  • Thankyou for all your questions today girls - and on behalf of us all, thankyou very much to Sarah for sharing her expertise with us!

    She will answer all the questions that are posted up to 6pm...

    Don't forget to join us next week (Tues 26 Feb, from 4-6pm) for our beauty webchat to make sure you'll be body beautiful for your big day!

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