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: Wedding top tips

Our experts solve your dilemmas

A very big house in the country

A very big house in the country

Q. We're overwhelmed by the thought of styling our manor house venue. What are your top tips for dressing our day without breaking the bank?

A. Alison Hieron says: This setting is perfect for a quintessentially English celebration. Start by deciding on a colour scheme and create your vision from this. Flowers are a must in this type of venue, and candles – where possible – make the perfect accessory.

Look around the house to see what features you can enhance, like a fireplace, mantelpiece or staircase. Use framed mirrors on easels dressed with blooms for seating plans and signage. For a personal, cost-effective touch, put out family photos in classic-style frames nestled in soft fabrics on a sideboard.

Line a sweeping staircase with candles and petals, and add a big arrangement at the foot of the stairs. To save the pennies, consider hiring artificial floral arrangements.

Table centrepieces can be created in many different ways. Candelabra wrapped with green leafy hedgerow garlands look stunning. Glass vases filled with seasonal flowers are another way to add nature's colours into your English country wedding. Don't try to fill every little space – just focus in and showcase certain details. Wooden signage and floral backdrops make great focal points, and bunting is another pretty yet inexpensive option.

Just remember, you chose the country house because it's already beautiful; you just want to enhance what's there.

A slice of the action

A slice of the action

Q. What flavours and styles of cake work well for a laid-back outdoor summer wedding?

A. Kerry Hemms says: For a more relaxed feel, a naked or semi-naked design would work brilliantly. The only problem is that this style doesn't withstand heat very well. This means that if it's left outside in the sunshine, the edges of the cake may become dry and the filling could melt. To help prevent this, ask for the cake to be filled and covered with either whipped white chocolate ganache or a mix of ganache and buttercream. This'll give a firmer finish, make the cake more stable and keep in the moisture. If possible, a cake like this should be kept in a beer cellar or cold store until the last minute.

When thinking about decoration, sugar flowers would be better than fresh, as they won't wilt. A good cake maker can make florals that look as good as the real thing to match your theme. The best thing is you get to keep them afterwards! Fresh fruit is also a great option. Try strawberries, as their taste improves as they warm up.

In regard to flavours, think about what you love and what's seasonal. Your bake needs to be as spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside. Think zesty lemon sponge with tart raspberry compote or a vanilla sponge with strawberries and champagne filling. Both are real crowd-pleasers for sun-filled days.

Fiesta time

Fiesta time

Q. We're having a festival-themed wedding. How do we reflect this in our stationery?

A. Francesca Baxter-Hunter says: Festival-themed weddings are a great way to show off your personalities as a couple. Begin by thinking about the colours, style and theme you want to portray. Will it be bohemian, floral, earthy and wild or more contemporary, with glitter balls and an industrial vibe? Pick shades that can run throughout your styling and consider bold, eye-catching fonts.

See if there's a way you can combine your names to invent a new festival name. This can then feature as a headline on your stationery – for example, Charbella instead of Coachella. Use this to create a hashtag on your invites and table names to let people tag your day.

Take inspiration from lineup posters to set out your order-of-the-day, and allow your loved ones to choose a song on an RSVP postcard. Perhaps add tear-off drinks tokens to your order-of-service to take to the bar. Don't forget signage to direct your guests around your wedding.

Dance with me

Dance with me

Q. What can we do to bring the wow factor to our first dance?

A. Steph Kelsall says: Gone are the days of an awkward shuffle on the dancefloor. A choreographed routine – no matter how basic – is much more enjoyable and entertaining for you and your guests.

Whether you're aiming for viral-video status or you simply want to look coordinated and comfortable together, make sure you're well-rehearsed, polished and confident for your big newlywed moment. You may wish to keep your dance preparation a secret to create an element of surprise for your nearest and dearest.

It's important to understand that your guests – and possibly even yourselves – will not remember your routine after time. Instead, it's the overall impact of the dance that will remain memorable. The greatest way to generate wow factor in any performance is to elicit emotion from your spectators. As it's your day, you can decide on what emotion that is, whether it's humorous, sentimental or uplifting. Your choreographer will help you to achieve the desired effect, but don't forget to showcase your connection as a couple and, most importantly, have fun!

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