Expert advice about wedding planning

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


Think big

Think big

Q. We're planning a large wedding and considering hiring a wedding planner. Can you tell us a little more about this?

A. Caroline Griffiths Wedding Planner says: Caroline says: Wedding planners have always been regarded as a status symbol for the rich and famous! But now savvy couples are realising the benefits of hiring a good one who will help without taking over. Experienced wedding planners can assist with creating realistic wedding budgets and deal with the logistics and finer details about how the big day will run. From photography and catering to the flowers and playlist, wedding planners keep everything organized, lessening the stress on the couple and relieving their time. Most importantly, they know how to avoid the mistakes of planning a wedding and can manage any risks.

Hiring a professional planner is a little bit like having a personal assistant on hand throughout your engagement. Reading contracts, completing booking forms, chasing guests that haven't RSVP'd, creating schedules and assisting with the set-up and clearing away afterwards are just a few things they can carry out. Most importantly, they'll be there every step of the way to ensure that everything goes to plan. Some couples depend on the best man, chief bridesmaid or a family member but they aren't professional organisers and invariably find the task significantly more demanding than they had imagined. They also want to enjoy the day and celebrate - they are close friends and family after all.

Marquee weddings and those taking place in venues where you simply hire the space – known as dry hire – take more organising than those at a venue that is already fully equipped. Often, planners can negotiate supplier discounts for booking through them that couples wouldn't be able to secure by going directly. I only recommend suppliers because they are awesome, not because I'm getting a cash incentive to put them forward - that goes straight to the couple. Planners also have an extensive recommended supplier list for different budgets. Many of these vendors prefer to meet mid-week because the weekends are their busiest time which the planner can do.

Pulling off a perfectly planned and beautifully styled wedding can be quite stressful, especially if you haven't got any experience of it. It isn't as straightforward as deciding what you want and booking it because there are so many details, logistics and timings to consider. Planners will know what will and won't work and be able to solve any problems.

Whether we like it or not, weddings can highlight family dynamics that often cause heightened emotions. Sometimes it becomes my job to work on finding compromises and hold sensitive conversations. Having someone impartial to the situation always helps.

Caroline Griffiths Wedding Planner,Caroline Griffiths


Hire it

Hire it

Q. I want a one-stop shop for all our wedding hire needs, can you help?

A. Rich Abbott says: The dress, the shoes, the flowers! Planning your big day is fun and exciting, from securing the venue to choosing the flower varieties for the bouquets. However, we know that wedding planning can also be time consuming, and sometimes slightly stressful, so a good idea is to choose a hire company that offers everything under one roof.

We want to make it as easy as possible for couples to tick things off the to-do list, ensuring their wedding day runs as seamlessly as possible. So, we offer a one-stop shop for everything related to wedding and event hire. From our sparkling glassware and table linen, to refrigerated trailers and catering equipment, they won't need to spend hours trawling the internet for anything when they can get it all from under one roof.

Rich Abbott


Planning tips and tricks

Planning tips and tricks

Q. We are newly engaged so can you give us some planning tips?

A. Toni Sharpe says: You want your wedding day to be perfect. But with plenty of details to organise, planning it can be time consuming. Here are some handy tips:

- Think practically about your venue Consider the capacities of the venue you like to ensure that there is sufficient space for your wedding. At the Duke, we have a variety of rooms available which are suitable for both large and small celebrations. Also, is the food exactly what you want, and do they offer a free tasting menu? This is something that not every venue will offer.

- Your day will be magical, come rain or shine You can never guarantee the weather, so don't book a venue based on the idea of how a summer wedding could be because you don't want to have to alter proceedings at the last moment.

- Consider how your photography will work at your venue Ask your photographer to visit your venue ahead of your wedding day. At the Duke, we invite photographers to visit the hotel to see the space and rooms that they will use on the day so that they can get familiar with the lighting and plan their shots. Couples love to have their photographs taken on our listed staircase, and it's the ideal location for group shots.

- Choose your suppliers wisely and don't be afraid to put them to the test Always use trusted wedding suppliers for your cake, stationery and styling. Make sure you see samples of their products first. Have a hair and make-up trial so that you get a clear understanding of how much time to allocate for getting ready on the day. It's also important to see how your make-up looks in photographs to make sure that you're happy with it. Think about arranging an engagement shoot with your photographer so that you feel at ease and get to know each other before your wedding day.

- Don't stress about the dress! Dress shopping should be fun, not stressful. Too many opinions could make finding your dream dress more difficult, so limit the number of people you take along. Try on different styles even ones you are not sure will suit you. You'll have a really fun time playing dress-up, and you may even find a hidden gem that you may not have considered.

- Don't overdo the planning People who are very particular about all elements of their wedding tend to be less able to relax on the day because they are so focused on making things go exactly to plan. Couples who are a bit more relaxed can take things in their stride and enjoy the day more. So, don't feel that you need to manage every last detail, just have fun and remember that this is your celebration!

- Try to enjoy every moment (even the planning!) Often, couples get stressed in the lead up to the wedding, and feel daunted by having so many elements to organise. However, following the wedding you may miss having the wedding to plan. The day goes by so quickly so we always recommend to take the opportunity to spend a little time alone together on the day – even if it's just ten minutes – to pause and share a special moment.

- Don't forget that it's your wedding day In my experience, the thing couples often forget is that it's their wedding day. Don't think too much about what other people expect because your wedding should be what you both want. Your guests are your family and most precious friends, and whatever you decide for your wedding, they'll be delighted to share your day.

Toni Sharpe

When it's time for you look for local businesses to help you with your wedding, take a look at our advertisements below. Most will have links to their own websites. These advertisements are updated regularly so please revisit often and mention Your Devon and Cornwall Wedding when making any enquiries.

Spillers Chauffeur Hire Co
Pengersick Castle
Sarah Chapman - Independent Celebrant
Boveys Down Farm