Want to make sure you remember your wedding with a smile rather than a frown? Here are a few things you'd do well to avoid on your big day.
- Overspending on your budget. Apparently more couples argue about money than anything else. So you don't want to get off on the wrong foot with married life. Set a budget, talk about it and stick to it. There are some great wedding apps about which will help you to keep on top of your spending and let you know how you're getting on. So if you save on one area unexpectedly, you could splurge a bit more elsewhere.
- Forgetting to write thank you cards. (And no, we're not keen on pre-printed cards either.) People will have spent time and cash choosing a gift for you and they'll want to know you've received it. Rather than wait to write thank you cards after your big day, our advice would be to try and send off your thank you's as you receive your gifts - and split up the job with your fiancé if you can.
- Forcing your bridesmaids into the dress of your choice with no thought as to whether the colour, style or length suits them. You're going to have some sulky, unhappy girlfriends if you do this. Far better to offer a choice of bridesmaid styles with different necklines, lengths and sleeves so they can pick something out that really suits them (and which they're likely to wear afterwards again and again - which is why Dessy's Twist Wrap dress is so popular). As for colour - well it's your call but we think an ombre effect (different shades of the same base colour) looks chic and if you're having an evening wedding, then why not put your maids in elegant black?
- Not briefing your photographer. Your photographs are going to be a lasting reminder of your big day, so they need to be right. Choose a photographer carefully, ask to look at online portfolios and check the photographer's style. Although reportage is a big trend right now, it may not be for you. Then meet the photographer and spend some time if you can at your chosen venue, looking out for photo opportunity areas and don't forget to give him or her a list of must-have wedding photographs so nothing gets forgotten.
- Letting your guests feel hungry. It can be a long while before the wedding breakfast, particularly if you're having an afternoon ceremony. So don't scrimp on the food. Serve substantial canapes or sandwiches and an afternoon tea always goes down well.
- Playing music too loudly. I've been to weddings where you can't hear yourself speak above the sound of the string quartet playing at the drinks reception and other occasions where the band/DJ takes over the dancefloor and kills any table conversation stone dead. Have a chillout room so those who don't want to dance can chat comfortably.
- Not making suitable provision for children. Kids (and their parents) will have a much better time if you put on some children's entertainment, give them special activity packs as favours and consider their food tastes. Expecting kids to sit quietly at a reception all afternoon or evening is expecting too much so think about a children's entertainer, a chillout room where kids can watch DVDs and childcare options.
- Letting your wedding photography go on too long. Don't leave your guests hanging about waiting to be fed whilst you have all your photographs taken. It's a good time to serve drinks and canapÃ©s and let your guests chat amongst one another.
- Waiting too long to cut the cake. Some of your guests might have to leave early and the etiquette is that everybody stays until the cake is cut. Be considerate and cut it early on at your reception so your guests have the option.
- Not thinking about the weather. If you're marrying in summer, don't automatically assume you'll have fabulous weather. Have a back up plan in case of rain. And whether you're marrying in summer or winter, make sure your guests are comfortable with the temperature. It's no fun sitting in a chilly marquee feeling underdressed or getting hot and bothered in a room with windows closed and inadequate air-conditioning.
Really, it's all about considering your guests and thinking about how you would like to be treated.
Have you ever experienced any of these wedding no-no's or do you have any to add?