FAQs and expert advice about venues

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Devon and Cornwall Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourdevoncornwall.wedding


Beside the seaside

Beside the seaside

Q. We wanted a relaxed beach wedding this summer in Devon, can you help?

A. Simon Daukes says: Arches Beach Weddings is an innovative new venue created following the transformation of the former Combe Martin museum building in North Devon. It's the sole ceremony-only seaside wedding venue in the country where couples effectively get their own private registry office set beside the sea against the stunning backdrop of Combe Martin Harbour.

The once derelict building on the Newberry promenade has been regenerated into a plush ceremony room licensed for up to 120 guests, looking out to the sea just metres away, with a private outdoor space. As well as a dressing room and toilet facilities, it also boasts an opulent bridal suite upstairs that can also be booked separately by couples if they wish to stay the night.

The venue is available in two-hour slots and can accommodate up to six weddings a day, with surround sound speakers and a variety of lighting options to create different themes.

Wedding couples and parties can book local pubs, restaurants or hotels for their reception and guest accommodation, as well as florists, photographers and other regional suppliers for their big day.

Local businesses have been invited to offer their services on the Arches website for free. Our philosophy from the start was that we wanted the venue itself to do as much as possible for the business and benefit of the village. Any local companies that want to be featured on our website only need to get in touch. We are not seeking any commission, we are sending business directly to them. We are not in competition with anyone because nobody else offers a ceremony-only service.

With the motto 'your wedding, your way', the aim at Arches Beach Weddings is to offer a large range of options to suit all budgets, from a ceremony and fish and chips on the beach to a reception with all the trimmings at a local pub, hotel or restaurant. The venue is ceremony-only with no parties, no noise and no local nuisance.

Couples can host their entire wedding for under £1,000 in a stunning location. There's currently a 25% discount for couples with an EX34 postcode. They can choose when they'd like to be married – at sunset, during the height of the summer or when the tide is in or out. We can be very flexible and would love to hear all of your suggestions, for example, we already have people talking about the couple arriving at the ceremony by boat

Simon Daukes, Arches Beach Weddings


Church on time

Church on time

Q. We can't decide between booking a church wedding or having a civil ceremony – can you advise us?

A. Jackie Searle says: I love marrying couples in church and adore the beauty of a church wedding, from the traditional moments and personal touches to the familiar words reflecting the individuality of each couple. A wedding in church offers a holy and spiritual dimension and the Devon Church Weddings project works with churches to ensure that prospective wedding couples receive a warm welcome and are supported through the process.

A church is a beautiful and special place in which to make marriage promises, celebrate love and be blessed. There's a beautiful moment in the service that always moves me after the couple have exchanged their vows and made their promises, where the vicar takes their hands and wraps them in the priestly stole and declares that they are now married. It symbolises that their love for each other, all that has just been promised and declared, is held in the even greater love of God.

At the heart of any wedding service or ceremony is love. The love of two people who are committing themselves to one another for the rest of their lives. They are joyful occasions and each one is so different. By the time you reach the wedding day, there is often a great bond that has grown between the couple and the priest from the first meeting, where you talk through practicalities and set the date, through to the wedding rehearsal and the big day itself. As a vicar, you want to do your best for each couple to make their wedding truly wonderful.

Two words come to mind when describing a church wedding - relationship and blessing. Your relationship is at the heart of the service. In the sealing of your relationship with each other, you are from then on related to that church – your names are in the register and the church will always be there for you in the future. The blessing element of a wedding is also really important. It doesn't mean that everything will go smoothly or that nothing bad will ever happen. Christian blessing is a deep faith that God is with us and wants good for us.

Many couples who come to church to marry find they become part of a church community who love and support them through their future life. Weddings have taken place in churches for generations, with families and friends gathering to celebrate.

Jackie Searle, Devon Church Weddings


'Tis the season

'Tis the season

Q. What's the best season to get married?

A. Simon Daukes says: We're all familiar with the tradition of the summer bride, and it's still the most popular and expensive season to get married. However, more couples are opting for spring, autumn or even late-winter weddings.

Spring – March, April and May
Spring officially starts in March and with its association of new beginnings, it seems like the perfect time to tie the knot and start your new life together. There are also two bank holidays and an Easter weekend at this time of the year, which means you could enjoy a long weekend of celebrations. During this season, the gardens of venues spring into life - wildflower meadows burst into colour, hanging baskets spill over with bright blooms and pink blossom covers the trees - so outdoor wedding photographs are definitely on the cards. Flowers for your bouquets are also more available with anemones, marigolds, and lily of the valley all in bloom. Daffodils are a bright and budget-friendly option to decorate the tables with. When it comes to a colour theme, look to Easter for inspiration with pretty pastels including pink, yellow and blue for bridesmaids dresses and flowers and table decorations. Or keep it fresh and natural with green and white throughout. If you're getting married near the Easter weekend, bowls of sugar-coated chocolate eggs make great favours and an Easter egg hunt on the grounds of the venue is always popular with the little ones. The evenings are lighter at this time of the year, and the days are fresh but often sunny, but it can rain a lot too. If you're opting for an outdoor wedding, make sure you can bring the ceremony inside at the last minute if there's a sudden spring shower.

Summer – June, July and August
If you're yearning for an outdoor wedding, the summer months are when you're more likely to enjoy glorious sunshine and warm days and evenings. Getting married in the open air surrounded by friends and family is so romantic. But while you may be happy to stand in the sun while you exchange your vows, not all your guests will be so choose an outdoor venue that offers some shade too, such as a tree or parasols. Nothing screams summer like a glass of Pimm's served in the garden as guests arrive alongside chilled fizz. Remember to have jugs of water available as well to keep everyone hydrated. A traditional sit-down three-course wedding breakfast may feel too much when the temperature is high so opt for something more laid-back like a barbecue, hog roast or a buffet of fresh salad, cheese and cold meats followed by ice cream for dessert. A summer wedding is a perfect time to indulge in colour. Think bright red, fizzy orange, fuchsia pink and aqua blue. Big, bold flowers like hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, cosmos, lilies, roses and sunflowers are all in bloom at this time - mix them with palm leaves for a tropical look.

Autumn – September, October and November
Autumn is a beautiful season in which to get married when the leaves on the trees turn orange and red, and the days are cooler. September can be pleasantly mild, and Britain often experiences an Indian summer, making this month a popular choice for couples. By the end of October, and into November, there'll be a chill in the air so it's best to host the ceremony and celebrations indoors. With Halloween and bonfire night at this time of the year, you can have fun with your theme, decorations, and catering. Opt for traditional warm colours like russet, burnt orange and honey for your bouquet and decorations. Many flowers are still available at this time of the year so mix them with foliage, berries and even pumpkins for an autumnal feel. Serve a hearty wedding breakfast with local seasonal ingredients and because it's close to bonfire night, gather your guests around a firepit roasting marshmallows served with hot chocolate (or something stronger!) Finish your celebrations with fireworks and sparklers.

Winter - December, January, February
Winter weddings are becoming more popular, especially those that are held in the build-up to Christmas and New Year. With Christmas on the horizon, venues look magical decorated with fairylights and candles and everyone is in the party spirit. Combine your wedding with Christmas celebrations and serve mulled wine to guests as they arrive followed by turkey with all the trimmings. The temperature will be nippy but if you're lucky, you may see some winter sun or even a smattering of snow on the ground which always makes for beautiful pictures. The key is to ensure the venue is warm and cosy for guests and if there's an open fire somewhere, use it. Keep your bridesmaids warm with stylish pashminas that can easily be slipped off for the pictures and pop a pile of blankets and throws into a basket and let guests help themselves if they feel chilly. What about the other winter months? Getting married in January gives everyone something to look forward to and suppliers are less likely to be busy at this time of the year. Hopefully, your guests will be happy to give up their dry January or new year's health kick for your wedding day. Getting married during February, especially around Valentine's Day, is a romantic time to tie the knot and the first shoots of spring are just beginning to show.

Simon Daukes, The Ash Barton Estate