Bride to be afternoon tea

As cliché as it sounds, a lot of little girls do dream of their big day. Dressing up in that white dress, walking down the aisle with all of their friends and family watching, twirling and dancing into the moonlight to live happily ever after.

Yes, a lot of little girls have the simple dream. However unfortunately the reality is, it takes a lot more planning than throwing on a dress, saying ‘I do’ and riding off into the sunset.

Many brides to be find themselves in sea of decisions, budgets, deadlines and planning. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and like you are taking one step forwards and two steps back!

Luckily for you, VantagePoint magazine are on hand to meet some of the experts who are here to give you some great tips on what to do before the big day.

Emma Westacott, Wedding Planner at Four Seasons Hampshire offers some advice about choosing your venue and making the most of this special location:
1) When to look for your venue – We recommend making this the very first thing you do because it will influence style etc and the rest of your wedding.
2) Extend the celebration – choose somewhere guests will want to spend a weekend so you can make more of your wedding! At Four Seasons Hampshire we have 500 acres and plenty of activities including pigeon shooting, archery, and falconry activities, making it the perfect country get away for a weekend celebration.
3) Location Location Location – When choosing a character venue, it’s a nice idea to learn a little about the history and its quirks. For example, we have bees and make our own honey, so to add a personal touch we suggest using honey pots as favours for guests or placing them in bedrooms with a tea as a welcome on the first night.
4) Service with a smile- as important as the décor and setting is for your wedding, what you and your guests will really value is the service you both receive during your stay. At Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, we are passionate about providing a classic and quintessentially English venue, full of character and fairy tale magic, but with the quality of service of a Four Seasons.
Find out more about Emma and Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire Weddings at –


The Dress– the pinnacle of all wedding conversations between the girls. All brides want to look one in a million, all eyes will be on her as she makes her grand entrance, and of course the Instagram posts that will be reaching all corners of the earth. Us girls need to make sure we get it right!

Kerri, Bridal Indulgence and Victoria, Tilly Mint have some great “dos” and “don’ts” to get you started!

  • Do- Think about the time of year the wedding will be taking place, you need to make sure the dress is right for the temperature! You also have to think about if you are going abroad, will your dress be easily transported?
  • Don’t– shop too far in advance, styles and fashions will change, as well as your own personal preference.
  • Do- Keep an open mind about the type of dress you would like. You never really know how a style will look on you until you have tried it on!
  • Don’t- overwhelm yourself with the amount of shops you visit at a time, try one or two rather than 4 or 5.
  • Do- set yourself a rough budget, it would be heart-breaking to fall in love with a dress and realise it is way out of your price range! It is also easier for the boutique to understand how much you are wanting to spend and can show the dresses in that price range.
  • Don’t- bring too many people along. Take the person whose opinion you value the most, it keeps the experience more personal, everyone will see it at the wedding! You want to keep some things private and personal.
  • Do- keep it a special experience, if you go wedding dress shopping week in week out it will become more of a chore than an exciting venture.
  • Don’t – forget the additional costs of alterations. 9/10 girls will need their dresses altering, and remember a lot of bridal boutiques do operate with appointment only systems so make sure you get that booked in the diary!
  • Do- remember to wear nude underwear, sorry men, it’s not all lace and frills under there! White and black underwear can be seen under white dresses. Chantelle Lingerie have some great varieties to choose from.
  • Don’t- keeping looking. Once you have found a dress and you do not want to take it off, that is your dress! Stop looking at that point!  

The photographer- although you will never forget your special day, you will always want to have the memories of it, it is also important that someone captures the moments that you miss.

Kate Neilen photography has some tips for you to follow when choosing your wedding photographer.

  • Do- book 2 years/ 18 months in advance, especially if your wedding will be taking place in the summer months!
  • Do- look around and see what styles you like. All photographers will have a different style and it is important to get the one that works for you. Think about if you would like fly on the wall photos, editorial photos or set up photos.
  • Do- ask questions! What is their style? How do they work? How the structure their day?
  • Do- meet the photographer, make sure you are both on the same page, you will both be feeling the pressure, you want amazing memories and they want to ensure they deliver them to you. Get to know one another’s personalities, to make sure the relationship will work!

Flowers- they are the key component to add colour, texture and feeling to your special day. They help with setting the mood of the wedding with their beauty, elegance and style.

Russell New, Blomster Design Flowers, give us more information about what to think about when choosing your flowers.

  • Make sure you have an idea of the budget you would like to spend, again it is easier to find out the sorts of flowers you can get if you have a budget.
  • Look at the styles that are on offer and the sizes, Russell says “there is no wedding too big or too small” for him to work with.
  • Most florists do have their own individual style however the more information you give them about what you would like to achieve the more they will be able to work with those requirements
  • Look at the areas they cover, make sure they are willing to travel to where your wedding is going to be.
  • Make sure like Blomster design they are happy to set up and clear away after the big day!

Entertainment- this can be considered the most momentous factor of the wedding. One publication even states that 81% of guests say the entertainment is the thing they remember most about the wedding. That is a pretty high percentage!

Mark Stormont from Stormont Entertainment has some tips on what you should do when considering who to use.

  • The best piece of advice Mark can give is to start at the end of the evening and work your way backwards. Have a think about what you would like your guests to be feeling at midnight.
  • Have a think about the style of entertainment you would like to have. There are so many options, think about what would go with the overall theme if the wedding.
  • When it comes to booking a band, do not spend too long on the internet. Get people on the phone and speak directly to the band manager and see what dates they have available.
  • Look at all the services that are included as they might all be able to be done through one company, again saves you having to try and get hold of a number of different people.
  • Talk to people, find out what they have seen at other weddings and get ideas and inspiration and their opinions on the ideas you are thinking about. The more people you talk to the more people will be able to help and suggest things!            “Triumph Band”

The Cake- originating from the tradition that the bride and groom would feed each other cake, not only symbolizes their union to one another, it also solidifies their promise to provide for one another.

Yevnig Davis, Unique Cakes by Yevnig, shares her insights into finding the right cake.

  • Try and have some elements of the wedding already in your mind, colour schemes, flowers, dress as that can inspire the design of the cake.
  • Look at the different styles of cake that are out there. Ensure the cake will fit in with the other aspects you have chosen.
  • Do not be put off by the size of the cake that you see as a display, these cakes can be modified to feed a variation of wedding party sizes.
  • Look to ordering the cake about 4-6 months before the wedding to ensure it can be made around the date of the wedding!

The wedding planner- many brides and grooms underestimate what it takes to design, coordinate and plan a wedding. It may come down to budget however a wedding planner can alleviate a bit of the stress and pressure that comes with that decision.

Emma McDonald, Something Blue, tells us of the advantages to having a wedding planner.

  • TIME- the biggest perk is having more time. More time to enjoy the build-up and focus on the planning of the wedding without having to feel like you are chasing your own tail.
  • The wedding planner gets to know you and your partner and therefore understand what aspects of magic they can add to make your day more memorable.
  • The planner will have connections, knowledge and experience that you and your family may not necessarily have.
  • Another key element is; it enables you to be present on your big day. The last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day is answering millions of questions and chasing vendors around!
  • As with all decisions you make when planning your wedding, it is important to bear in mind the cost, so do look into this beforehand.

Hair and makeup- you have your dream dress. Now you need your hair and makeup to match! The hair and makeup will of course have an effect on how the wedding photos come out, as well as competing your look as you glide down the aisle.

Jen Lo, LoLo & Co, gives us some tips on what we should do in the build up to the big day!

  • Ensure you let the makeup and hair stylists know what your usual style is, you do not want to be caked in makeup if you are used to more of a natural look.
  • Think about the colours, you need to have an idea of what the dress will look like so they can match the hair and makeup.
  • The professionals will know how to style you for the photographs. They know the right products to use, as well as techniques to keep you looking fresh all day!

Unique decorations- every wedding is different and that is what makes them personal and unique, Susie from Twilight Trees tell us more on how her product can give your wedding the perfect personal touch.

  • Make the guests feel valued- as much as it is your day, you want to make sure the guests feel as welcome and let them know you are grateful that they are there to spend this day with you. A name tree is a great way to get guests interacting and finding their names and tables hung on a tree.
  • A different approach to flowers- the classic trees with lights will take your breath away and the ‘Trees in Bloom’ will add flora like you’re never seen before. Twilight Trees will wow your guests, create the perfect atmosphere and live forever in your photographs.
  • This could be an ideal answer to trying to tie in flowers as well as lighting for the big day as you can do both in one!
  • Speak to them about colours and themes of the wedding and see what they can offer to ensure it is all in keeping with the final vision of what you would like your day to look like.

 Balloons- a fond friend of VantagePoint, Amy Brown, AJ’s balloon decor, gives us some advice when choosing the balloons.

  • Do think about your style or theme and let the balloon decorator know so they can see what they can use to fit in with that.
  • What is your colour scheme? Make sure you are clear on different shades you want to use.
  • Which areas are you key focal points?
  • Be realistic with your Budget.
  • Use sizes and styles of balloons suitable to the scale of your venue, which we can advise on.
  • Use only the best balloons and decorators for quality results.

Find out more from all of the experts at:



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