Expert Advice

Have you been feeling a bit overwhelmed with your wedding or celebration and just not sure where to turn?

Do you have a question to ask and would really love some expert advice but concerned that you will feel obliged to commit to using their service and it may not fit into your budget!

Well this is your opportunity to ask all those buring questions without any restraint or concern and get that expert advice you are after!

Email idit@dashofsparkle.com (include in the title Expert Advice) and we will reply to your question as soon as we can.

(Please note this page gets updated on a monthly basis, so please do return to check if your question has not been replied to yet)

 

Questions:

19. I get asked by many brides about what other food options they could offer their evening guests, as standard buffets become more and more dated. Here are some great ideas from fish and chip cones to hog roasts – have a read to get your taste buds going!

18. What do you think about a bride and groom asking for money as a wedding gift?  Would you
be happy to give money if asked rather than choosing a gift from a list or choosing your own?  Jazzy

17. I really really want to get my H2B a lovely wedding day present. As he has given me the wedding of my dreams! I’m on a tight budget :(. He doesn’t wear jewellery, I have no idea what to get him! Please help me! Sue

16. I am getting married on 9th August and trying to keep to my budget which has turned out to be quite difficult. Do you have any suggestions about how to reduce costs? Daniella

15.  Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, do you have any ideas of what special things we could do together?, Valentine Love Bird

14.  I am looking for something fun, yet elegant for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah and I really don’t want to break the bank. Please can you make a suggestion for a lovely centrepiece that won’t cost more then £30. Shelby, Mitzvah Mummy

13.  Really struggling to find a Kosher venue for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. Is there really nowhere I can have a Kosher function for less then £90 per person? Denise, Mitzvah Mummy

12.  We are planning a party for my son’s 21st. Its in a 5* hotel and the venue has very high ceilings. I really want to fill the room, create the wow factor but also incorporate a sporty theme. How can we do that? Joanne 

11.  Iabsolutely love the Shabby Chic Vintage theme and want to incorporate as much of it as possible into my wedding. The invitations have been really easy to do, but how can I incorporate the theme into the wedding day? Jacqueline, Bride-to-Be

10.  Have started looking at a variety of venues for my wedding next year and wondered what are the essential questions I should be asking the venue, apart from availability and the price, of course. Donna Smith, Bride-to-Be

9.  My wedding date is the 21 September, only a couple of months to go! I am incredibly excited about my outdoor summer wedding. We are having a picnic and dancing into the wee hours of the night. Only thing is I am really concerned about  – our British weather! Can you suggest some ideas for water-proofing my wedding so that the rain does not ruin our special day. Samantha, Summer Showers

8.  Facebook Photos what do you think? On your big day all your friends / family will be snapping away with their camera phones and then possibly putting them up on Facebook / instagram etc. I don’t want to come across as a bridezilla but I am unsure whether I like this? I really want to be the first person to show my day off. Really confused, am I being silly or is there something I can do about it? Thanks, Grace

7.  My son’s Barmitzvah is taking place at a restaurant that has very narrow tables. We would still like to have centrepeices that have the wow factor but need something with a small base. Suggestions are most welcome … Laura, Mitzvah Mummy

6.  It is my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah in June and I would like her to make an extra special entrance. She does not really sing or dance, but I would love to create the wow factor! Please can you give me a couple of suggestions I could consider?
Thanks, Hollie

5.  I am really excited, my wedding is in under a month ! All the suppliers have been booked and now I am focusing my attention on my wedding speech. How can I make my speech more interesting and fun? I have been exploring Google and YouTube for ideas but don’t know how to make it more personal and add that special touch. Please can you make some suggestions. Diana, Bride-to-Be

4.  Hi my name is Hannah and I am getting married in a community hall in Rickmansworth. The hall looks really plain and I want to feel like I am somehere else, somwhere magical! Can you let me know how much it would cost to drape a room and what else I could do to add some magic to my wedding reception?

3.  Hi I am Linzie and am getting married in two weeks and have planned my wedding myself, but wanted to ask if you could advise me with what I should put in my emergency kit so that I am prepared for any unexpected last minute stresses.

2.  I would like to use a wedding planner to help out with our wedding plans, but am concerned that it would end up adding uneccesary costs to my wedding budget. Would it really save me money? Could I not just do it all myself? Debbie, confused bride-to-be .

1.  We are getting married next year in May and unfortunately have a very low budget for our wedding. We are planning on creating a lot of the bits ourselves to cut costs but wondered if you have any suggestions that can help us stick to our budget? All the suppliers I am speaking too have such high prices, what can I say to them to negotiate a better price? Daisy

 

Answers:

19. Great ideas for alternative catering for your evening guests!

Looking for something different to serve your evening guests? You are going to be hungry by the time you get to the end of the list 🙂

  • Sandwiches cut into interesting shapes
  • Mini quiches
  • Sausage rolls or sausages
  • Crisps and dip
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Mini pizzas
  • Potatoe wedges
  • Mini hamburgers
  • Breaded mushrooms
  • Fajitas
  • Sushi
  • Chicken kebabs
  • BBQ buffet
  • Hog roast

Let us know what your choice or add something to the list we have not come up with!

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18. Hi Jazzy

That is a great question to ask, especially in modern times where a lot of brides are already living with their better half and could do with a bit of help for their honeymoon or renovations to their home. I definitely think that as most of your family and friends know you well and would appreciate being given the opportunity to give you somehting you really want instead of a gift that you may end up exchanging. You are not alone and if you would like to read about other brides asking the same question … here is a link to the interesting ideas and responses they  received – http://www.bridesmagazine.co.uk/community/qa/answers/228783

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17. Hi Sue

First of all congratulations on your engagement and may i wish you many more years of every-day-present-giving to your special man. When giving present to a man, especially husband to be, it’s better to stay romantic and cute, but still classy. I’d advise to buy a watch. it’s not really a jewellery and it’s practical. As for the cute line, you can have it engraved with “let this watch count all our sweet moments together” or something similat that will relate to your relationship and you both. Another great idea could be to put together a first night box, make it naughty or nice, romantic or just funny. You could include his favourite bite-size treats, dipping chocolate or whipped cream, edible body paint and brush, and a do not disturb sign 🙂 Hope this helps.

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16. Hi Danielle,

Firstly I want to say, not to worry! Most brides don’t realise when they start off how many little hidden wedding items are included. They forget the little things like favors, gifts for the bridesmaids and all those special extras to make the wedding more personalised. When I was looking for ideas for a blog, I found this lovely site that offers  invaluable advice on how to save money, something we all need help with from time to time! You don’t need to compromise on your special day! There are so many great ideas out there! Have a look at this link – http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/cheaper-weddings

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15. Hi Valentine Love Bird

I love this romantic time of year, there are so many things to do and places to enjoy with your loved one.  Here are some great ideas for how couples in love could celebrate this special day…I am passing on some hints 🙂 http://metro.co.uk/2010/02/11/valentines-day-ideas-top-10-events-for-couples-96174/

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14.  Hi Shelby

You can definitely create something fun and elegent with a bit of colour and balloons. To keep costs down, how about a double bubble balloon or a outer balloon with lots of little ones on the inside. To finish off the arrangement you can have a collar and then a piece of organza with ribbon twirling to the table. For the base you can choose between a variety of shapes – heart, star or something with a bit of sparkle. Of course finish it off with a sprinkle of confetti. This idea can definitely fit into your budget of £30.

Double Bubble Balloon Centrepiece with collar and organza ribbon

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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13.  Hi Denise

I completely understand your frustration, it is really difficult to find an affordable Kosher venue. Unfortunately The Pillar and The Majestic are the only two Kosher venues in the North London area and they are quite expensive. I am sure you have tried contacting hotels which allow external caterers to find the cost is equally expensive. But don’t feel disheartened, there are other opportunities you may not have considered…

I am really quite excited by your question because I have very recently partnered up with an amazing Kosher caterer and we have created a Kosher package that has all the top class expectations but still fits in with an affordable budget! I will email you more information about that but in the meantime here are a couple of suggestions to help with your venue search…

Synagogues and community halls are not as expensive with their venue hire charges. You could definitely have a Kosher function there for a lot less. Another option are the golf or cricket clubs, many of them have marquees up during the summer months and again don’t charge as much as hotels for venue hire. Or you could put up a marquee in your garden if it is large enough. Finally if you are not to fussed about having a banqueting style layout you could consider a Kosher restaurant. They would not charge you venue hire and the cost of their menu can be reduced to help keep to your budget. I hope these ideas help you get started and if you are still stuck, don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can brainstorm some more ideas together. Kind regards, Idit

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12.  Hi Joanne

Such a great theme and I love the fact that you are celebrating in style ! A great way to fill up the room is with a tall wide vase and to link up with the theme to fill the vase with lots of little sporty balls. Or have an illuminated vase with a soccer, football or basketballs on the top. You can even have a sporty sweet buffet to add that delicious finishing touch! Here are two pics to get your creative juices flowing. We do create bespoke centrepieces so get in touch if you want a quote!


Vase with sporty balls  Disco ball centrepieces

(Photo with floral arrangement and sporty balls in vase taken by Jackson Photography.com)

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  11.  Hi Jacqueline

You have chosen such a gorgeous theme for your wedding. A beautiful theme that allows you to use a very chic but hand crafted style to create that shabby chic look. The shabby chic vintage theme has a mixture of a country/meadow feel combined with pastel fresh colours and a vintage touch to create that elegant finish.

Apart from a variety of centrepieces that can either have bird cages with fairy light roses or antique tea sets with fresh flowers and pearls, you can add to the theme with handcrafted place cards, menus, table numbers and favour bags. Laura Felicity’s Bespoke Wedding Stationery has the perfect style to fit your theme. They exhibited at our Wedding and Celebration show, have a look at the Wedding and Celebration Show photo gallery or our Wedding photo gallery for some inspiration.

Shabby Chic Vintage theme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10.  Hi Donna

Booking that dream venue is one of the first and most important items on your to-do list. With so much wedding planning on your mind, it’s really important to ask the right questions to avoid disappointments and costly surprises later. Venues will often be able to offer you a range of services such as food, drink and music. Book as early as you can to get your preferred date and don’t be afraid to ask for discounts or freebies!

Here is a comprehensive list of questions I would ask the venues on behalf of my clients:

  • Does the venue suit your theme? 
  • Is the venue licenced for civil ceremonies?
  • Is it big enough to accommodate all your guests for the seating style you have in mind?
  • Will their in-house wedding co-coordinator be there on the day of your wedding or function?
  • Do they have equipment you can use or will you have to hire tables, chairs, linens, plates, glassware?
  • Can you bring in external caterers?
  • If you are bringing a caterer in, will they have access to a kitchen, power, running water, etc?
  • Does your package include food for both the breakfast tea and the evening reception?
  • If they’ll be supplying the food, are they flexible with their menu choices? Can you make suggestions?     
  • Is there a vegetarian alternative? Can they accommodate special dietary requirements, i.e. allergies or gluten-free etc?
  • Do you need to pay extra to hire the cake stand & knife?
  • Do they have a license to consume alcohol?
  • Can you supply your own alcohol? Is there a corkage fee?  
  • Does your package include – menus, place cards or any centrepieces?

If you would like more suggestions click on the link – The Best questions to ask your Wedding Reception Venue

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9.  Hi Samantha

You are so right, the one thing we can count on with British weather is its unpredictability! But don’t despair, you can definitley still have you outdoor wedding, just need a couple of contingency plans in place!

  1. Make sure your venue has a couple of vehicles that can cart you around, I know of some venues that have golf carts especially put aside for the bride and groom.
  2. I am sure your photographer will be prepared for all circumstances, but if you have family and friends taking on that responsibility, make sure they have a waterproof camera. 
  3. If you want an outdoor experience with the cover, how about opting for a open marquee? One that looks gorgeous but you can see all your beautiful surroundings, a great choice is the Capri party marquee below.

What ever you do, just remember to relax and enjoy yourself, if you do get a little wet, soak in all those little dew drops and sparkle with delight – it will make the most memorable photos for your album.

(below is an example of an open marquee tent)

Marquee tent
(Photo by The Stetch Tent Company)

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8.  Hi Grace

Grace you are not being silly at all! In the past this was not an issue as no one would see any photos until the bride received her album. Today with all the wonders of technology, it is not surprising that you don’t want to be spotted on Facebook before you have even had a chance to reminisce with your professional shots! A great way to avoid Facebook mishaps is to simply include a fun little rhyme in your invite asking your guests to wait till you post your first pic before they post theirs.

Here is an example:

To those who brought cameras,
there’s a special request,
Take plenty of pictures of the worst
and the best,
Don’t forget to email them to us,
After we’ve wed,
If at all possible please do delay,
Sharing the photos on Facebook today,
As we would love to be the first to share ours, We hope that’s ok. xx

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7.  Hi Laura

I think we have just the centrepiece you are looking for ! The illuminated bubble stick is a great centrepiece that adds that WOW factor to any celebration. It is 50cm in height and has a very narrow base of 8cm. The bubble stick stands on a LED base that creates a vareity of colours which can fade in and out or be fixed. And to finish it off, the disc at the top can be personalised with words or numbers, which means it can even double up as a table number. Should definitely achieve the expected fun and wow atmosphere you are hoping for.

Illuminated bubble stick centrepiece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(photo from Essential Wedding Hire)

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6.  Hi Hollie

There are lots of great ways to have fun and create the wow factor for your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. As you mentioned she would prefer not to sing or dance, What if she sat in the middle of the room in a royal chair and was serenaded by a singer or entertained by a group of dancers? Or she could be brought in on a flying carpet.

Another great idea, if you are looking for a fun and unique way to get the Mitzvah party started… how about filling up a huge balloon with confetti and having the birthday girl popping out ? It is completely safe.

Click on the link to view a YouTube video of the plan in action – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeEy_T5DSok

Balloon entrance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5.  Hi Diana

1 month to go … very exciting! Glad to hear that your wedding plans are well under way and you are not feeling stressful.

Your wedding speech is such a special part of your day. It is an opportunity for you to share with your guests “your highlights”, what brought the two of you together, why you fell in love and make everyone feel a part of this special occasion.

My suggestion are:

  • Place all your thoughts on paper, including those funny moments you would like to share.
  • Write down a couple of jokes about some of the guests, those funny moments you shared together.
  • Don’t forget those special people you want to thank!
  • Once you have a list of ideas a great way to bring them together would be to spend a couple of hours with a Wedding Speech Coach who can help refine the speech and help you with presenting it on the day.
  • I have included a link to a blog I have written called “What to expect when meeting with “The Wedding Coach” and how they can help add a bit of magic to your wedding speech … here is the link – What to expect when speaking to “The Wedding Coach”

Most importantly, just have fun and enjoy every moment !

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4.  Hi Hannah

I love the idea of taking an empty canvass and creating your own bit of magic … When you use a venue like a hotel it is sometimes harder to create your own theme because they have so many pieces of their own decor in the room that you need to work around, but not in a hall !  The cost of draping a room all depends on the width and height of the room. To help with an estimate, if you are draping 3 walls in a room which is approximitely 27m x 14m in size, you could expect to pay around £1,500.

There are so many different choices but my favourite would be to have two sides draped with white or cream fabric and then combine that with uplighters to set the mood. For the third wall in the back of the room, I would suggest draping that with a fairy light curtain. That could be behind the main table. By using this combination you have created a gorgeous atmosphere and a wow factor as people walk into the room. Other ways to make the room breathaking can be created with a ceiling canopy, textured lighting on the walls, a startlight dancefloor or fairy lights. Even adding a couple of props around the room can really help create the theme you have chosen.  The ideas are endless, it all depends on the budget.

Award ceremony themed Bat Mitzvah  Ceiling canopy at wedding

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3.  Hi Linzie

I am really glad to hear you are planning ahead for your wedding and preparing for everything. In addition to the list below, I would like to recommend that you also find someone to oversee your wedding. Someone who is not in the retenue but has a good idea of the venue, staff and your family so that they can help you out as you don’t want to have to deal with any stressful
situations on your weding day.

I’m sure you have thought of the usual things to include (toiletries, and extra make-up) so here are some suggestions of things you might have forgotten to include:

  • A sewing kit for tears in clothing and a stapler for bigger tears
  • Clear nail polish to stop runs in stockings
  • White chalk to remove stains on your wedding dress and a black marker pen to take scuffs off shoes
  • A snack (crackers or a granola bar) as you might not get to eat until late in the day
  • Medicine like pain killers or Non drowsy allergy pills       
  • Tweezers for removing splinters

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2.  Hi Debbie

You are not alone and should not need to feel overwhelmed or stressed when organising your wedding, it is suppose to be the best time of your life! A wedding planner is there to make your special day just as you always hoped it would be, leaving nothing to chance and no detail forgotten. They are there to help create the celebration of your dreams and are the experts in spotting and stopping disasters before they happen.

You will have one person to turn to with a range of expertise in all the areas of wedding planning and can guide you through a bewildering array of choices, saving you valuable time & money, reducing your stress and most of all making sure you have the most memorable and exciting day!

The aim is to keep you within your budget and ensuring they only recommend the best suppliers giving you peace of mind that you are getting first class value and service.

Top 8 reasons to have a wedding planner or event organiser:

  1. One point of call for all your requirements.
  2. Flexible meeting arrangements that fit in with your busy lifestyle.
  3. We inspire you, sharing the wealth of our knowledge and design expertise to support you in creating a chic function.
  4. Saving you time with all the pre-function research (on venues, suppliers and scheduling of appointments).
  5. Access to our approved list of quality vetted suppliers.
  6. Negotiating discounts on your behalf to ensure you get the most out of your budget.
  7. Mediation – we can act as a negotiator within any given situation.
  8. Support and direction at all times during the planning process and coordinating everyone involved on the day for a smooth, stress free perfect celebration.

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1.  Hi Daisy

Weddings are such an expensive celebration but you don’t have to worry there are definitely ways to help you stick to your budget! I am really glad to hear that you are planning to get creative and DIY the more expensive parts of your wedding.

The most important step in your wedding planning, would be your budget. Here are some tips to help you stick to your budget:

  1. Write down a list of all the different requirements for the overall wedding (i.e.photographer, centrepieces, dress, catering, DJ, cake, etc) To help with that you can download our wedding checklist (click here) 
  2. On the top of your list write the total amount you have to spend and then estimate what you think you would spend on each item, to make sure it all fits in. (As a guide – You should be spending half of your budget on the venue & catering and divide what is left over on all the other items)
  3. Stationery – have you explored www.vistaprint.co.uk or www.zazzle.co.uk ? These two sites are really good if you are considering the DIY route for digital invitations, that don’t cost a lot to print or visit Hobbycraft, they have a great range of pre-cut wedding stationery to choose from.
  4. Decor/centrepieces – hire vases, mirrors, tea light candles at very reasonable prices or get some great bargans at Poundland and Tiger. Start to collect early on so you have enough for the big day.
  5. Wedding planners usually have access to vases, mirrors, tea lights, etc, so ask them for a quote. They can deliver the items to your venue or home. (Alternatively have a surf on google and Pinterest, there are so many great ideas to explore)
  6. A great suggestion to keep costs down is to use the bridal bouquets as the centrepieces for the main table. Try to reuse as many of your floral arrangements as possible. Take flowers from the ceremony to decorate the buffet table.
  7. Negotiating with suppliers/venues – choose a date which is not peak season, a week day is always cheaper then weekends.
  8. Never accept the first quote a supplier gives you, they always leave room for negotiations.
  9. Consider opting for the basic package, most suppliers would not offer it if they don’t think it will be suitable to still have an amazing function. For example if a DJ brings 4 lights instead of 6, that is a reduction in cost, but not really noticeable on the night.
  10. Try to use one supplier for a variety of items because they will be more negotiable on price and there will only be one delivery/set-up charge (or none).

I hope the suggestions above will help to keep to your budget. Most importantly, remember to enjoy every moment.

Weddings are only meant to happen once in a lifetime and you need to smile from start to finish !

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