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  • Madeleine Norman

Planning Your Wedding

So... he asked and you said YES!!! What next?

Well firstly you need to start by deciding where? But not just where as in a venue, but where as in, are we going to get married in England, or choose a beautiful destination abroad.

If you decide abroad, which country. Greece, Spain, Croatia, Italy or even further the Caribbean, America?

You then need to start viewing potential venues. If it is abroad you need to arrange a recky trip with a well researched schedule of places to view and if it is in England it is equally important to visit a number of venues to make sure you find the right one for you that can accommodate you on your date/time, can fit in with your ceremony wishes whether that be at a church or a registry office or at the venue.

Bear in mind your budget, ask the venues exactly what is included for the price they quote you. Go away and think about what else you are going to have to pay out for on top of what they have said is included. Some venues will offer you different packages than others so do a comparisson. The one that looked expensive at first may well work out better value after all.

Have in your mind that this will be the most expensive single day of your life (probably), so do you really want to spend all that money out if you don't try the food first, see a room set up for a wedding, speak with the person responsible for making sure your day runs smoothly. Imagine turning up on your day and finding out the food is awful, it is a really tight squeeze for all you guests and the person the venue has put in charge of your day is not interested in you and your dream day!

This goes for all aspects of your wedding day!!

The next thing you need to book is your photographer ( ME) ;). Us photogs get booked up years in advance, especially these days when couples are needing longer to save.

Having mentioned budget before, I will say here, photography is not an area I would scrimp on. I hear so many couples tell me " we really love your work, but my friends, Aunties neighbour can do it for £400 including travel and an album and will be there from 6am to midnight. I find this a real insult really.

I have been doing my job for 12 years and have a catalogue of work to back this up. I know how much time goes into editing the pictures after the event. I make sure all the annoyingly placed fire extinguishers and fire escape signs are removed from the pictures, I make sure the person smoking a cigarette in the background of you picture is cropped, I make sure all the little details are captured. What I don't do is produce a dodgy collection of images that will leave you with a bad taste and possibly an appearance on Judge Rinder as so many before you! What you need to think about is these images are a one time thing, this day will only happen once and your photos are all you are left with as a memory. Do you really want to rely on you uncle who has a flash camera, but hasn't photographed a wedding before. Would you trust someone to do your wedding make up who has never done it before but has said they will do it for £20?

When you book a photographer arrange a face to face meeting. A photographers photos may look amazing on their website but, if on the day you find them annoying, overbearing & intrusive, it's too late to change your mind. You can get a really good idea of a person when you actually meet them. Ask them how they work, what style they shoot, look at their portfolio but also ask to see an example of a full wedding. We photographers like to show off the "Magical" pictures. Lets face it everyone can strike lucky and take a great pic but, when you are having your whole day caputured you need to see an example of what you will end up with as a whole.

Next up, you need to search for you dress, my experience on this is limited to three occasions, mine, my best friends and my sister in law. What I will say is try on what you have in mind (for me this was a mermaid cut which was hideous on my bigger hips)! Try on what your mum/friend suggests, but also go for something completely out there. Something you never in a million years thought you'd try. As in all 3 times I've done this task, the "out there" one was the winner. Also ask the opinion of the Bridal shop. They do it for a living. Also don't rush into it, take your time and you will find "The" dress!

Decide your theme/colour scheme, bare in mind if your colour scheme is blue, flower choices are limited (but a good florist will be able to overcome this). Think about how easy matching you colours will be to keep the theme throughout. I picked pink as my colour, but my stumbling block was I am colourblind, so I just said any pink is the theme as matching wasn't an option! Are you looking for a rustic barn theme or a more polished modern twist.

A cake maker is another one to try and book fairly early on as they do get booked up and there is only a certain amount of cakes that can be baked and decoarated at one time. Make sure you sample their cake before hand. I have tried many a beautifully decorated cake only to be quite frankly shocked at the dry, tasteless sponge inside.

Entertainment, I always find a wedding lulls after the meal, waiting for evening guests to arrive, the room to be turned around and the music to start. So another thing to consider is, does your venue have another room for the entertainment to set up in so you can go straight in to your party? Ask your band/disco how long they take to set up? Visit them at a gig to see an example of there set.

Flowers, visit different florists and see their portfolios. Ask them how many weddings they take on at a time for one day. Ask what time you will have the flowers and is delivery included in the quote. Can they suggest what flowers would go with your theme & what will be in season, I hear so many poor florists struggling to find a certain kind of rose in the middle of winter!

Anyhow, I will stop preaching now. Hey what do I know? I always find recommendation is best, as lets face it no one is going to recommend someone that hasn't given them a good service. So I have listed a few suppliers that I have had the pleasure of working with and can highly recommend!


Hendall Manor Barns -

The East Sussex National Golf Course -


Me of course!!! -

Hair & Make Up

Louise Make Up & Hair -

Make up by Elise Hammil -


The Floral Workshop -


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