Ask the experts

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Bristol and Somerset Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourbristolsomerset.wedding

To view more Q&A's on a different topic, please select one from the list below.

Hot topic: Expert advice

Our experts solve your dilemmas

Picture this

Picture this

Q. How do we get couple portraits that we'll cherish for years to come?

A. Andrew Saunders says: I seek out the special moments that often go unnoticed and shoot mainly without the couple knowing. This way, I can artistically photograph the day with the newlyweds relaxed and in their element, creating standout images to last forever.

It's important to me that my brides and grooms are relaxed; I want them to enjoy their day and to not worry about posing awkwardly. If you capture true events, you'll look back in 40 years' time and relive those memories. In essence, I want to see the real couple, delivered in bold composition with vibrant colours, rich tones and full of the atmosphere of the day.

In-tents!

In-tents!

Q. We're considering having a marquee wedding, but there seems to be so much planning involved. What do we need to remember?

A. Barny Lee says: The most important thing is selecting a reputable company that offers the marquee as well as planning advice and all the elements required to make it a truly fabulous occasion.

A marquee is a totally blank canvas, which gives you the opportunity to personalise the day and make it perfect for you. Another huge bonus is that you're not restricted with guest numbers and timings, so you can continue partying until the early hours. How about using the marquee again the next day for breakfast or lunch with your loved ones?

If you don't have a location in mind, marquee suppliers will have lots of great suggestions. As a company, we also supply furniture, fittings, lighting and décor, so you just need to decide on the theme. Start off by booking a consultation to help guide you through the planning process stress-free so you can simply enjoy your special day.

Wed-min

Wed-min

Q. We got engaged on Valentine's Day, and after the initial excitement, we're now facing the huge challenge of actually planning the day! Where do we start?

A. Radhika Nathwani says: To help you along your way, we've put together our top 10 things you should consider when planning your dream wedding…

❤ First, you'll need to have an idea on your guest numbers, as this will help when looking at venues.

❤ Don't underestimate the time it takes to find suppliers, get quotations and book. Ideally, you'll want to give yourself 12 to 18 months to plan.

❤ Book your key suppliers as soon as you can. Venues, caterers, photographers, videographers, florists and make-up artists all get booked up months, if not a year, in advance. You don't want to miss out on your first choice.

❤ As soon as you finalise your wedding date and venue, send out savethe- date cards to your friends and family.

❤ In the initial stages, it's good to think about your budget. It's daunting, but the earlier you do this, the easier it is to make decisions. It also helps to prioritise what's most important.

❤ Allow yourself a 10 per cent buffer on top of your ideal budget. You'll find that along the way you'll opt for larger floral arrangements or more courses for your evening meal, which will increase the total spend.

❤ Magazines, Pinterest and Instagram will become your inspiration heaven – but remember to keep your budget in mind, as it's easy to get swept away.

❤ You may find you get opinions from various loved ones, and there are lots of decisions to be made. Just remember it's your big day and you won't be able to please everyone.

❤ It's easy to get in the habit of doing wed-min after work and on the weekends, so try to plan date nights every so often to spend some wedding-free time together.

❤ Organising your dream day is very time-consuming and often becomes stressful for couples. If you're combining it with a busy work and social life, it may be worth getting an expert on board who can make it a breeze.

Tying the knot

Tying the knot

Q. A friend mentioned to me about having an independent celebrant conduct our ceremony as we don't want to wed in a venue. Can you tell me more about this?

A. Dr Jayne Chidgey-Clark says: Many people want to leave behind the restrictions of a religious or registrar-led service and instead have something that reflects their wishes and personality. With an independent wedding celebrant, you take control.

As this type of ceremony is not yet legally recognised in England, you will need to go to the register office before or after the big day to deal with the formalities. On your wedding day, you're then free to choose the location of your dreams and any special elements to make it individual. For example, you could include broom jumping, handfasting, a unity candle, sand ceremony or anything else that's important to you.

Another benefit is that family, friends and pets can all be involved if you wish. Also, if you have any spiritual or religious beliefs such as Paganism, they can be incorporated. I will listen to you and help you design your perfect ceremony; the only limit is your imagination.

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