Weddings & Event Manager at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve says…
“At one of our weddings, the couple hired a professional artist to capture their special moments and the venue during the actual wedding. It really engaged and intrigued the guests, and the final product was absolutely beautiful. In all my years of weddings, I had never seen anything like this and thought it was such a lovely touch.
“Also, for couples who choose to have a head table, we’ve also seen an additional chair or two placed on the other side of the table, so guests are able sit comfortably and chat to the couple as opposed to standing, making the bride and groom feel less isolated and making sure their guests feel like they are more welcome to be part of the top table. You could always add these chairs once the main food is out of the way, so people are encouraged to come over.”
Luxury Wedding Planner, the Taylor Lynn Corporation says…
“I had a couple who both worked in fashion, so they were keen that all aspects of the wedding were perfectly styled. We all visited a local fragrance expert to have a bespoke scent designed for the wedding. Both the brides then wore it on the big day. We also had the fragrance gently diffusing in the ceremony room and the couple had small, luxury scented candles made as a wedding favour. We went one step further though and used some of the ingredients in the floral displays – a beautiful combination of citrus and herbs as a base for stylish floral and candle centrepieces. The cake designer then used the herbs and dried limes and oranges to dress a ‘naked’ style wedding cake. It really reflected the brides in an unusual but fitting way.”
London-Based Wedding Planner says…
“One of my brides was a theatre producer, so throughout the day she and her husband included live performances – during the ceremony, the groom's brother sang a song from her (late) father's favourite musical and the groom's parents led a choir for the hymns. A brass band then led the guests to the reception marquee before three friends gave a performance from a Noel Coward play that had been personalised to the couple. For the first dance the brass band was accompanied by two other guests and halfway through the night, three other talented guests sang a short set.
“Also, one of my grooms proposed on a beach in Wales and the couple had pieces of jewellery made for each other in the shape of a pebble they had found that day. To carry it through to the wedding day, they collected pebbles from the same beach and used them as place cards for guests, later explaining their significance in the groom’s speech.”
Founder of The Pretty Prep Studios says…
“A favourite touch of mine is having personalised games. For example, a ping pong table with a side for the bride’s guests and a side for the groom’s. Each side of the family then faces off. If you’re having a wedding weekend, it’s a great way for everyone to break the ice on arrival or to bond even more the day after – especially if you have extended family that’s travelled and are keen to get to know each other for the first time. Photodash challenges are really fun, too. It works well later in the night, when everyone’s having more fun, and the vibe is a bit looser. The idea is the bride and groom sit on seats in the middle of the room or dancefloor and then groups of friends and family rush into the shot to take a picture. You only have three minutes to get all the guests at the wedding photographed, and you end up with some really candid, funny shots. Finally, instead of doing a bouquet toss, I saw one bride untie her bouquet and hand a flower to each of the single women at the wedding. I’ve also heard of brides creating mini bouquets and surprising them when everyone thinks she’s about to throw her own into the crowd.”
Event Specialist says…
“I think welcome events are a special way to kick things off – and done right, they can sometimes be one of the most memorable parts of a wedding. One such event we did was a banquet in the woods with mirrored tables, candles and six-foot chandeliers. The menu was also reflective of the natural surroundings, all cooked over open fire. Acrobats twirled amongst the canopy while fire-breathers roamed below. It was a real experience, and the evening was rounded up by an impressive fireworks display. If budget allows, it can be a really special way to welcome your guests.”
Styling & Events Manager at Pennsylvania Castle Estate, says…
“To make the most of their exclusive hire with us, one bride hosted a pre-wedding bridal afternoon tea for her girlfriends. It was a really special way to kick-start the weekend. Also, if your venue doesn’t allow for fireworks or it’s just not something you want to shoulder the responsibility for, check with the production team whether light projections could work as an alternative. We often arrange for light displays to be projected onto the side of the castle here. Finally, my advice would be to get a bit more creative with your music choices. We’ve had couples be drummed into their drinks reception by Dhol Drummers, reflecting the groom’s heritage, and at another event, a gospel choir sang the bride down the aisle. It’s these little choices which often leave a lasting impression.”
Founder of Wed-Start says…
“One of my favourite weddings had a huge marquee split into two. During the daytime, the guests could only see one half of the space and we dressed it all pure white with pop-art colours here and there because the couple weren't all that fussed about flowers. When it came to the evening, we had a 'grand reveal' of the dancing space which was all black with a huge chandelier above the bar and all white furniture. The effect was incredible.
“It's usually a real faux pas to use someone else's wedding to make big announcements, but one of my clients really wanted the day to be about family and sharing great memories. During the speeches, they announced a long-awaited retirement and two pregnancies, and had not one, but three people propose to their partners. The noise in the room as the third proposal went down was insane and the whole evening was so exciting.
“Finally, not everyone wants to have 150 pairs of eyes looking at them. I worked with an introverted pair who, after all the delays and fuss from Covid just wanted to get married in a venue that mattered to them. It was a case of waiting two years or getting married on a Monday. So, a Monday it was – 40 people, beautiful ceremony, simple lunch and done. The best man and maid of honour both had Covid, so they recorded their speeches that morning and we played them through a speaker. It was genuinely one of the nicest weddings I've ever been to.”
Director at Offley Place says…
“An element that is still unusual is to do a first look with your partner. First looks are so effective and I’d suggest more couples consider it. It gives you the opportunity to have a private, intimate reveal moment, to see and speak to each other before walking down the aisle and having some really special photos taken of you. Our couples that have opted for this feel so much calmer and more excited before the ceremony and it doesn’t take away from how excited and emotional it will be.
“One of our couples found the best way to get all the guests on each table talking – they’d created a few clues about each person and placed these in the centre of the table. The cards would tell you for example, that a certain member of this table used to live in Japan, or that another is a connoisseur when it comes to whiskey, or that one of the table guests knew about the proposal before the bride. It was such a thoughtful touch that got everyone talking and really made each guest feel special and valued.”
Wedding Planner says…
“One of my couples created individual portraits of their guests as an alternative to place names on the table. When the time for sitting down and eating rolled around, guests had to find their spot by finding their face. Also, think about letting your guests choose between a bride and groom menu – it’s a great idea if people know you are foodies. One of my couples, Olly and Amelia, asked guests to pick between the ‘Olly’ and ‘Amelia’ menu, with each of them selecting their favourite dishes. It turned a bit competitive, but it was a really fun touch that got the guests talking on the day, too.”