Here is a selection of Q&As from Your London Wedding magazine. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Planning an elegant celebration? Our experts to the rescue!
Q. I'm planning a winter wedding, but was hoping to avoid the traditional Christmas green and red or wintry icy blue colours. Are there any seasonal flowers that could be used to create a romantic bouquet in a soft palette?
A. Liz Inigo Jones says: A classic combination of crisp white seasonal flowers such as anemones, paperwhite narcissi and hyacinths with a little fresh green foliage is a lovely alternative to the traditional red Christmas-inspired bouquets and can be taken through to the tables and ceremony flowers.
Pretty little potted paperwhites or cyclamen would be perfect for favours; with the addition of a hand-written label, they can also double up as place cards.
A long table filled with an assortment of fragrant potted white hyacinths and vases of scented freesias intertwined with green ivy trails, moss and bark can look stunning and not at all Christmassy.
Q. We've hired a grand venue and we're keen not to let the side down when it comes to our first dance, but we're not exactly Strictly material. How long would it take to learn an elegant routine and what style of dance should we aim for?
A. Jenny Logan says: Your first dance can be a daunting prospect – four left feet and all eyes on you! But first wedding dance lessons completely change that. Whether you just need a little time to practise dancing or you want to wow your guests with a viral-worthy choreographed routine, lessons with a professional dance teacher are a great idea.
With a trained instructor, an elegant ballroom waltz with perfect poise and grace would only take a handful of lessons to look natural on the day. Or how about something jazzy – the rest of the guests will be itching to join in? We've seen a rise in requests for flashmob routines set to your favourite songs and artists, which can include an entire wedding party. Just a few one-hour sessions in the comfort on your own home would be enough to help you feel confident and ensure you look great facing the music on your big day.
Q. I love historical buildings and I'm considering hiring a listed venue for my day, but before I sign on the dotted line, I was wondering whether there'll be any restrictions in terms of décor? I'm assuming hanging bunting across centuriesold ceilings is out but what about candles and props?
A. Moya Maxwell says: I think restrictions is the wrong way to look at this question, yes it's true if you're looking to hire a heritage or landmark space you need to be mindful of the interior of the building but that doesn't mean that specific theming requests are impossible.
If there are any limitations, they usually revolve around the set-up times and how the space and any valuable objects within it. However, a good wedding planner should foresee these eventualities.
And don't forget that the listed venues are likely to be the main source of inspiration. Often, theming in such venues can be a case of augmenting stunning surroundings with simple touches. This could be beautifully arranged floral displays or some subtle uplighting, to lift the atmosphere whilst maintaining the integrity and elegance of the venue. And – if the venue doesn't allow real candles, the battery operated variety are most convincing these days.
At the end of the day it's about you or your planner sitting down with the venue manager and having a frank conversation about your requirements. They will have a wealth of experience in accommodating even the most ambitious of requests. You'd be surprised about how much can be achieved, even in the most precious of spaces.
Q. Thanks to our rather complicated family, we're keen to avoid the formality of a sit-down meal, but we don't want to compromise on the quality of food or the sense of occasion. Is there an alternative to the three-course banquet and seating plan?
A. Andrea Bauer-Kadhim says: 'Awkward' is not a word that you want to hear reverberating around your reception, so we quite understand your dilemma. Thankfully though, formality at weddings has long since been replaced with a vogue for the natural and easy-going, meaning the horror that seating plans sometimes pose can now be avoided. This doesn't mean you have to offer guests a substandard buffet. Why not take your nearest and dearest on a culinary journey with a tasting menu of small plates at different tables? That way, guests can move around at will, nibble little tasters and talk to lots of guests. There are many themes you could try – a table that recalls your travels around India, say; a box of Turkish delights, presenting mezze in a beautiful way; or a table dedicated to your favourite home-spun, traditional English recipes. It will be fun for you and for your guests, with the added bonus that no one will be bored. And just think of the dessert station. Sweet.
Q. We're planning a winter celebration, but as we've chosen one of London's historic houses to host our big day, I'm keen to keep the look chic. What would you suggest in terms of décor and entertainment to reflect the season and venue without turning our event into a Christmas cliché?
A. Anna Petterle says: Winter weddings can be so beautiful! If you want a nod to tradition but prefer to keep your style chic, avoid a combination of red, green and white. Instead, choose classic white, cream and gold; a very modern mix of red, light grey and white; or couple white with icy blue and silver accents.
To give your styling a seasonal look, use lots of sparkle, for example hang crystals from your centrepieces or large flower arrangements and use lots of candles and lanterns to decorate the space. Try incorporating typical elements of Christmas décor, such as garlands, but transform them with a monochrome theme, in white, ivory or black.
For your entertainment, select live music for your ceremony and reception, and don't be afraid to add Christmas classics to your playlist like a string quartet, a harpist or opera singer to create a romantic magical atmosphere, perfect for the season.
Wedding planner and stylist
Liz Inigo Jones
Don't let a rainy day ruin the romance of a Valentine's Day wedding with this heart-shaped umbrella. Available in a variety of colours, it's currently £14.95 from www.love
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