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The complete guide to planning a wedding — according to the experts

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Getting hitched comes with a lot of stress and anxiety, especially during the planning stages. To lend a helping hand to brides-to-be, we spoke to experts from across the wedding industry to discover the mistakes to look out for.

Wedding season is upon us, which means there are hundreds of soon-to-be-brides across the country frantically checking their planners, trying to ensure that every little thing has been checked off and accounted for. It’s a common saying that ‘something is bound to go wrong on the big day’, but we’re here to help you plan for as much as you can. We spoke to wedding planners and industry experts to find out the small details that many brides forget, while discussing the best ways to alleviate stress on the big day.

Arranging a wedding is one of the biggest sources of stress and anxiety in adults
1. No screaming children

When asked about the biggest thing that couples should steer clear of, Samatha Gilchrist of The Gilchrist Collection points, regretfully, to children. “At the end of the day, children are unpredictable and often choose the worse times to be loud,” she says. “If you truly want to be in the moment, I’d suggest opting for no children on your big day.”

Read more: How to navigate being a new mum
Children often choose the worse times to be loud during a ceremony
2. Casual threads

While lots of couples put disclaimers on their invitations regarding children, many forget to disclose the dress code, resulting in some people sticking out like sore thumbs and possibly ruining photos. As well as making the dress code clear to your guests, be sure to disclose this information to your photographers and videographers, too, as we’ve all been to a wedding where the team are clad in T-shirts and jeans — not a good look for a black-tie affair.

3. No new shoes

If you’re a bride-to-be, you’ve probably already bought a sparkling new pair of shoes, and, as avid Carrie Bradshaw fans, we support this. But Zoe Burke, editor of wedding planning platform Hitched.co.uk, warns brides of the possibility of blistered feet. “Even if they were super comfy when you bought them, new shoes are going to need breaking in long before your big day,” she explains. “There’s nothing that will ruin your wedding more than painful feet, when so much of the day revolves around you being on the move.” Wear them around the house, with socks, in the office or even while sitting down watching TV — wherever you choose! The more wear, the better.

Not breaking in your wedding shoes can lead to painful blisters
4. Not scheduling alone time with your partner

Candice Burns, senior wedding consultant at The Wedding Travel Company, said: “Weddings are hectic to say the least, and with everything scheduled in, couples often find that they barely get a moment to themselves. It’s important to factor in time just for the two of you.” Candice suggests scheduling a dress reveal before the ceremony or escaping to a private area within the venue after the ceremony before the photos.

5. Mocktails are a must have

Non-alcoholic options are a given at every affair, but it can be easy to forget to include a mocktail or two on your cocktail list. As 28% of young adults in the UK don’t drink, it’s imperative to have some fun alcohol-free alternatives at your wedding (that aren’t just soft drinks and water).

Read more: The best non-alcoholic adaptogen drinks for the sober curious
Mocktails are great for both sober and non-sober guests
6. Have a plan B and C

“Making arrangements for wet or windy weather sounds like a no-brainer for a UK wedding, but this can often be overlooked, especially during the peak summer months,” says Candice. We all know how temperamental the British weather can be, even in mid-August, so it’s a good idea to plan for all conditions. Even if you’re getting married inside, chances are you’ll want most of your wedding photos to be taken outside, so it’s worth thinking about alternative indoor options.

 How to reduce bridal anxiety

Even with every plan in place, arranging a wedding is still a mighty task, and can be a huge source of stress and anxiety. Therapist and mental health expert Sophie Cress advises brides to be open and honest about their worries with their partner. She points out: “This can reduce anxiety by creating a sense of shared understanding and accountability.”

She also suggests establishing reasonable expectations. We all want our wedding day to feel like a fairy-tale, but Sophie reminds brides that unrealistic expectations can inevitably leave them feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.

Read more: What is sound therapy and why are celebrities obsessed?
Discussing your worries with your partner can help alleviate stress
 How to avoid stress on the wedding day

If we’re being honest, there are a million things that could cause you stress on the big day. From timings and logistics to bad weather and last-minute changes, one of these issues is bound to arise.

“Tend to these stressors by assigning chores to trusted individuals,” says Sophie. “Put in place contingency plans for unforeseen scenarios, but most importantly, remove the idea that every little thing needs to be perfect.”

Meanwhile, wedding and event planner at Pylewell Park, Melanie Wright, says: “On the day of your wedding, focus on being in the moment. A capable events team will handle the logistics, which allows you and your guests to relax and enjoy the celebration without worrying about the details.

“Embracing whatever the day brings can lead to unique and memorable moments — for example, unexpected weather can create stunning backdrops for wedding photos. Rain can symbolise blessings and renewal, while a sunny day can amplify the joy and brightness of the celebration.”

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