Learning from the best: wedding advice from brides

WEBPICONE_Laura Spark_CRED www.lifetimephotography.co.uk.WEB
Laura Spark and her hubby cut the cake on their big day. Photography: www.lifetimephotography.co.uk

With the Scottish Wedding Show geared up to once again return to the SECC Glasgow this weekend (21-22 February), we’ve had a chat with two brides to get a bit of advice on how to stay cool, calm and collected on the big day.


Laura Spark (pictured above)

When: 16 August 2014

Where: Local church, Balbirnie House

What do you think was successful about your wedding and why?

“I think the venue played a big part in making my wedding successful. We chose Balbirnie House because the team are very experienced. The staff took care of everything and the customer care was outstanding.

“Also, time is a massive help. I had two years of planning so it was a gradual process which I took month by month. The start can be really chaotic so I think having the extra bit of time to figure things out can be very beneficial.”

What, if anything, would you do differently and why?

“I honestly don’t think I would change anything about the wedding itself. The only thing I would say is I would have liked to slow it all down, the day went so quickly. I had so many guests and I felt like I never got the chance to see everyone. Looking back now I would have used all the little gaps in between the ceremony, pictures, meal etc to mingle and enjoy time with everyone.”

What are your top tips for organising a wedding?

“I’m not going to lie, it can be very overwhelming at the start of planning a wedding! My advice is to narrow down your to-do list and approach one area at a time. I split my to-do list into months, but if you haven’t got that much time you could still do it my weeks (or god forbid) days!

“Planning a wedding can take over your life so set yourself boundaries. We had ‘Wedding Wednesday’ and this was the only day we were allowed to talk about or plan the wedding.

“When you have narrowed down your possible venue list, I would highly suggest testing them out under normal circumstances. Go for lunch or dinner and get a feel for the environment, staff and service.”

What advice can you share for enjoying the day?

“Accept you are going to have to rely on people. Learn to let go and place your trust in others, you’ll enjoy the day so much more if you’re not thinking about things from a planning perspective.

“Give yourself space. I would suggest setting aside a separate room for your bridal party to get ready in, so you have your own space to gather your thoughts and calm yourself.

“Give selected people responsibilities so you don’t have to worry or deal with things. I hired a woman from the dress shop to come to the house in the morning and help everyone get ready and my photographer was my own personal therapist (he kept me calm through it all).

“Make sure your photographer knows the venue and if not ask him to do a recce a couple of days before. Having a plan for pictures will save so much time on the day, letting you enjoy more of your day.”

“The main thing is to remember it’s about the whole experience, not just the day. Make sure you enjoy the entire planning process, get your family involved and experience it with them.”

 What would you say to any bride before her big day?

“Laugh, smile and dance the full night away.”

PICTWO_JenniferBailie_Cred www.shutterreleasephotography.com
Jennifer Baillie on her trip down the aisle. Photgraphy: www.shutterreleasephotography.com

Jennifer Baillie

When: 1 November 2013

Where: Local church, Brig o’Doon House Hotel


What do you think was successful about your wedding and why?

“We chose a lot of things for our wedding day that had an element of tradition but we adapted to be more personal to us. I felt it made our wedding our own and was a good reflection of our style and tastes rather than some of the more popular wedding trends.

“We viewed a lot of beautiful, modern venues but they just didn’t have the feeling we were looking for. As soon as we both went in to Brig O’ Doon, we knew it was the one. With traditional decor and a relaxed cosy feel, it suited our style and rustic theme. I felt choosing the right venue is such an integral part of making your wedding successful, you want to ensure your guests feel comfortable and you don’t have to worry about things.”

What, if anything, would you do differently and why?

“We were very lucky with our wedding day, there’s little I would change. Everything went to plan and I enjoyed every second. I think this was because we planned everything to suit our own tastes.

“Not everybody has the same taste and I’m sure there will have been things we liked that didn’t appeal to everybody. It’s important to remember you can’t please everyone, all of the time. It’s your day so all that really matters is what’s right for you.

“My husband and I don’t particularly enjoy having our photo taken so when we were alone with the photographer it didn’t really go very well. I now feel that we might have benefitted from practising this beforehand.”

What are your top tips for organising a wedding?

“Prioritise. Think about all the things that are important to you and set a timescale to research and book. If it’s not a priority then don’t worry about it. Concentrate on the things that are going to make your day special.

“I’ve always been quite creative so it was important for me to hand-make some of our decor. I had to plan, seek advice and set aside time to pull it together without rushing but I was really happy with how it turned out. Find that thing that makes you happy and incorporate it into your wedding.

“Set yourself planning goals and prepare lists so that you keep track of progress and divide tasks up evenly. Wedding planning doesn’t have to take over your life. If you do small bits regularly then it doesn’t become stressful or rushed. It also leaves you plenty of time for the fun bits like lunches and drinks with your bridesmaids while dress shopping!

“Utilise the resources at your disposal. We were quite lucky to know a florist and photographer, but you can also use people’s skills. My dad is a joiner and helped make the cake stand and other wooden accessories.

“Not everything has to be expensive. I would recommend you consider DIYing as much as you can. We made our stationary, favours, table runners, chair sashes, table names, headpieces and guest book. It looked great and was exactly what we wanted.”

What are your top tips for enjoying the day?

“Take time throughout the day to stop and reflect on what is happening around you. It goes so quickly and there are lots of things you forget or miss out on when you’re excited.

“Relax, if you know your future husband is the one you really want to marry then all the other things about the day don’t really matter. If it all goes to plan great, if not it doesn’t matter because it’s about you marrying the man of your dreams.

“Delegate tasks to your wedding party, for example give the ushers and best men lists of the photos required so they can gather people up. This speeds things up a lot and gives all the wedding party some responsibilities.”

What would you say to any bride before her big day?

“Marry your best friend, it makes life a lot easier when you have a lot in common and can appreciate each other’s styles, choices and priorities.

“Enjoy every minute. People will tell you it’s the fastest and best day of your life… believe me it is so make the most of it.”

The Scottish Wedding show takes place on Saturday 21st February (10am-5pm)  and Sunday 22nd February (11am-5pm) at the SECC in Glasgow.