This month, with the easing of lockdown, thankfully many couples have finally had the opportunity to say ‘I do’ as venues once again open their doors and smaller weddings for up to 30 people, begin to take place across the country. This is of course absolutely W O N D E R F U L! and for many lovely bride & grooms-to-be, exchanging those all-important vows now, after months of uncertainty, far outweighs working around the current restrictions and guidelines.
But what if rearranging your dream wedding to celebrate with fewer friends and family is not be the perfect solution for you? Maybe you were planning and looking forward to a much bigger wedding, making your vows and celebrating with a reception in a beautifully dressed venue, enjoying amazing food and fizz together, cutting your fabulous wedding cake, dancing your first dance and partying long into the night with the people you love the most. Letting go of those dreams for your special day might seem impossibly difficult, and that’s entirely understandable.
With this in mind, you might choose to postpone your special day entirely – sadly it's a choice nearly 76,000 couples have had made since lockdown commenced in March.
This week however, I have also seen many local venues beginning to reach out to couples with another option…to tie the knot as planned, working within the current guidelines and then hosting your celebrations at a later date when hopefully restrictions will have eased further. If this sounds like the perfect solution to you for your special day, then hopefully my little Blog will help with handy hints, tips and advice.
Marry Now & Party Later’ The Essentials!
Counting the Pennies: If you are considering a two-part wedding, the very first thing I recommend you do is to look at your overall budget. Write down a list of what is really important to you for each part, and work out your expenses accurately. Knowing your budget is absolutely key so that you can decide where you want to spend and where you want to save. You may choose for example to have a very simple more intimate ceremony first with just a few key décor items and wedding bouquet, saving your pennies for a huge celebratory party and reception later on with full-on decorations and floristry. Either way, you will want both parts to look and feel equally special, without compromising on quality…and I promise, with a little creativity and help, it really can be done!
Check Availability: If you have a date for your wedding already booked in and you are looking to postpone the party and reception, talk to your venue and wedding suppliers as soon as possible to see what options are available to you for splitting your celebration. There may well be cost implications, however there are some absolutely amazing deals out there at the moment and lots of wedding suppliers really are going the extra mile to make your wedding dreams a reality.
Whether you have a venue already reserved, or you have somewhere specific in mind to book, my advice would be to secure availability sooner rather than later. Next year in particular and into 2022 looks like it’s going to be super busy as lots of postponed weddings have been rescheduled, fitting in around existing bookings. Availability for the most popular weekend dates across the spring and summer is becoming more difficult to secure, but if you can be flexible with your dates, this is often key to unlocking some fantastic deals and savings.
‘We Do’ PART ONE!
So what can you expect and what might you like to include for the first part of your wedding celebrations? Let's start with the legal bit...
Your Wedding Ceremony: If your wedding was scheduled for this year, you may already have given notice of your intention to marry at your local registry office. If not however, remember that you must do this within 28 days of your chosen wedding date.
Your Venue: With smaller numbers, wherever you choose to say ‘I do’, from a place of worship or registry office to a licensed civil ceremony venue, indoors or out, you can easily create a wonderfully intimate and romantic ceremony, using for example key pieces of décor and floral accents. I promise, it really can be every bit as special and memorable as a larger service.
Always speak with your venue first to see what restrictions might be in place at the time (these continue to change and you can follow the link at the end of this Blog to keep up to date with current Government guidelines). Once you know what is achievable, working within your budget, think about how you would like to ‘set the scene’. This is something we can definitely help with. We have lots of beautiful pieces that you might like to consider for this part of your special day, including a stunning floral wedding arch (perfect as a backdrop for your service and photographs), ‘Wedding this Way’ signs, welcome mirrors, together with beautiful aisle decorations including birdcage and traditional lanterns (these look simply wonderful for a candlelit ceremony), tea-light holders, silverware, glassware, garlands and silk flowers. With individual item hire available, you can simply pick key pieces for your ceremony without breaking the wedding budget.
The Ceremony Guest List: At the moment government guidelines mean that you can only have 30 people present on your wedding day and this includes:
· You and your partner
· Your wedding officiant
· Two witnesses
· Any non-venue staff (for example your photographer)
· Your guests, close family and friends
Choosing a smaller guest list for your ceremony might feel daunting especially if you are concerned about offending those you won’t be able to invite to this part of your day. However, people are usually very understanding given the current circumstances and knowing that you will be having a fabulous celebratory party later on for all of your friends and family, might make the task that little bit easier.
Another wonderful way to involve those who can't physically be there, might be to share your ceremony on Facebook Live, Zoom or similar online streaming facility. It really can work and is a great way to build excitement for your guests, so that everyone has the opportunity to see you exchange your vows. If like me you are a bit of a technophobe, do ask your venue for help with this.
Photography: Although you might incur some extra expense, if you have any ‘wiggle room’ in your wedding budget, I highly recommend that you book your wedding photographer for both parts of your special day. It’s so very important to capture those once-in-a-lifetime memories. If your budget is limited, do shop around because there really are some wonderful offers at the moment. You might also consider asking a talented friend or relative to help out with photographing your day too.
A Small Reception: As of the 1st of August, the Government has announced that small wedding receptions will be able to take place for up to 30 guests (Hurrah!). At the time of writing however, we are still awaiting full clarification of what will be permitted. My advice would be to speak to your venue in the first instance to determine what they might be able to safely provide in terms of food and drink etc. We can certainly assist with smaller table seating plans, table centrepieces and wedding décor if this is something you might like for this part of your special day.
‘We Do’ PART TWO!
Cue the confetti... it's time for 'We Do Part Two'! So, you’ve had a fabulous Wedding Part One, set a date and booked your venue for the P A R T Y, and lock down restrictions have (fingers crossed) finally been lifted. What can you expect for this part of your celebrations?
A Second Wedding Ceremony: Yes…if this is something you might like, you really can have two! Although you will have legally exchanged vows already, there is nothing to stop you from having a second ceremony or blessing in front of all of your family and friends. There are no legal requirements for this (you don’t have to give notice like you did for your first ceremony) and it can be as personal, intimate and fun as you and your partner want with singing, confetti, dancing, the works! You can exchange your vows and exchange rings in the presence of all your family and friends. My absolute top tip here is to find a ‘celebrant’ to help you. Celebrants can help you create a tailored, unique ceremony that totally reflects your personalities and love for each other. If you need any help with a personal recommendation here (or indeed for any other wedding supplier or service), just send me a message – happy to help!
What to Wear? Having two parts to your wedding provides the perfect opportunity to wear that stunning wedding dress or suit a second time! I know I would have loved the chance to pop mine on again (although post lock-down I suspect it might be rather a squash and a squeeze!). If you want to wear the same outfit for parts one and two of your special day, I say go for it…but equally there’s nothing to stop you choosing something completely different if you want to - just as long as you feel totally amazing!
The P A R T Y! – Are you ready for the party of a lifetime?! Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of celebrating a two-part wedding, is that you will hopefully have had a bit more time to plan and budget for a spectacular reception and party. Now is the time to celebrate in style and fulfil all those hopes and dreams you had for your original reception. You can focus entirely on adding the WOW factor to your day – whether that’s with live music, a videographer, unique catering and bespoke cocktails, a stunning wedding cake, state of the art photo-booth, or transforming your venue with beautiful statement wedding decorations and props.
And that’s also where we come in! Whatever your wedding theme or style, from rustic to vintage, country-chic to classic, we have the most beautiful and unique pieces to add the wow and the sparkle to your celebrations. Creating your vision with perfectly coordinated beautiful décor is what we do best!
If you are looking for décor inspiration, pop on through to our lovely stock page or grab a cuppa and browse through our gallery to see how pieces work together. We have lots of fabulous statement pieces from our stunning floral wedding arch and 4ft light-up LOVE Letters (the perfect backdrop to your dance-floor!), to those all-important finishing touches with mix-and-match centrepieces, confetti kits, wedding signs, beautiful cake stands, doughnut boards and sweetie cart, post-boxes, bespoke seating plans and lots, lots more!
Many pieces can be personalised just for you and we are adding new stock to our catalogue all the time, like for example our new LOVE Cubes and Confetti Kit pictured here (available to win for your wedding as part of our July Competition! Click here for details of how to enter).
Whenever and however you decide to celebrate your wedding, if you think we can help, do come and say hello.
It would be an absolute privilege to help make your wedding (parts 1 & 2!), simply A M A Z I N G!
Happy Wedding Planning Everyone!
* To keep up to date with the Government's latest Covid 19 Guidance for Weddings, please click here.