Waiting For A Valentine’s Day Proposal? Questions To Ask YOURSELF

The Valentine’s Day proposal.  How many of us, I wonder, are waiting with bated breath to see if this might be the day they’ll propose.

Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, a January birthday have all gone by and nada.

Waiting for a Valentine's Day Proposal? 2 white roses

The problem is that you can rarely be entirely sure a proposal will be forthcoming particularly if you already live together.

Will you get a Valentine’s Day Proposal?

It’s bad enough wondering if they’ll remember to get you a Valentine’s Card but if you are expecting a marriage proposal then the whole day will be fraught with waiting and hoping and longing …. and potential disappointment.

So before you risk having to crawl miserably into bed nursing your dashed hopes of the dress, the ceremony, the doves, the champagne and the vintage car, it’s time for a little Valentine’s reality check.

Here’s what you need to ask yourself.

What is the real state of my relationship?

You can’t use Valentine’s Day or any other annual celebration as a sticking plaster for a relationship which just doesn’t work.

Receiving a bouquet of roses or a diamond may well signify intent but there’s many a step between popping into Interflora and writing your vows.

Have you been getting on?  Have there been arguments?  Are there fundamental things upon which you just don’t agree?

These are red flags for a long-term relationship.  Money, sex, children, religion, ambition, hobbies – all of these things can throw a spanner in the works of romantic happiness.

Check in with how you actually feel about your partner and ask yourself “if it wasn’t Valentine’s Day, how would I feel about my partner?”.  Do they make me happy?  Do I feel confident and loved when I’m with them? Do they boost my confidence and self esteem? Would they be the person I would turn to first in any emergency?

What do other people think about my relationship?

This probably matters more than you might think.  If your friends and family hate your partner then you really need to ask yourself why.  Obviously sometimes we are constrained by cultural or religious expectations to do the right thing but, generally, if everyone else hates your other half then it’s time to wonder if they might have a point.

Has marriage even been discussed?

In my weekly problem page, I often come across the issue of mismatched expectations.  The most memorable is a lady who had been with her man for 3 years and was asking how much longer she had to wait for a proposal. My question to her was “why have you waited so long to raise the subject with him”?!

This is still, I think, an enduring problem in long-term relationships where the couple live together.

There is no longer the impetus to marry for the sake of children or to conform to society’s expectations because the landscape of gender, sexuality and the way we relate and live have changed almost beyond recognition from our parents’ day.

I think marriage has to be firmly on the agenda pretty early on  – especially if you are both over 30 and want to have children.  I married at 41 and had my kids at 43 and 45 and wish I had done the whole lot at least 10 years’ earlier – but life’s not like that, is it?

You do need to be open and honest about what you want for your future, and clear about what commitment means to you.

Many of us want the big white wedding to have our ‘day’ but in lots of cases a ‘day’ is all it turns out to be, plus a debt of around £33,000 , the average cost of a UK wedding in 2017.

Making the wrong choice of partner could be very costly indeed – and that’s before the cost of divorce, not only in terms of money, but in terms of friendships and your social life.

Far easier to gently ask “do you see us getting married and having kids one day” than lugging stacks of bridal magazines home and sighing loudly every time a jewellery commercial comes on.

What if it’s not a “no” but a “not yet”?

This could leave you, like the lady from my problem page, in limbo for a very long time. You have to be clear in your own mind how long you are prepared to wait. If you do get a ‘not yet’, you have every right to ask what would need to happen for the time to be right.

Putting pressure on your partner will not work.  “When, then!” is not the right thing to ask.  You need to understand whether ‘not yet’ really means a future marriage or whether, frankly, you are being fobbed off.

There’s a big difference between “yeah, I suppose so at some point ” and “when I have finished studying my business course and we have saved up enough for a deposit on a flat”.

Most of us can tell when we are being fobbed off but acknowledging that means having to be honest with ourselves about whether this relationship is the one – and if you have had quite a few ‘the one’s’, it’s understandable that you may feel panicky at the thought of going back on the dating scene again.

What if your partner wants to propose in their own way, in their own time?

Lots of people hate being put under pressure.  Equally lots of men hate Valentine’s Day – the commercialism, the cost, the fakeness of many of those hearts and flowers.  If your partner is going to propose you can probably tell you know.  But you shouldn’t assume they’ll conform to your expectations and do the big Valentine’s proposal.

If they are talking about settling down with you, buying a home, having children, planning future holidays, commitment in general then that’s a good sign and a basis upon which to have a grown-up and honest conversation.

If they are muttering about Valentine’s being a load of crap, arriving home later and later and going out more often with their friends, then the signs aren’t good, are they?

If the big proposal doesn’t appear on Valentine’s Day, the worst thing you could do would be to have a major strop, start a row and end up splitting up because one of you said something unforgiveable and unleashed the floodgates of every little irritating thing they’ve ever done since you met them.

Which will just convince them, if there’s any doubt, that you weren’t the right person anyway.

Hold it together on Valentine’s Day

Your best strategy, if you’re hoping for a proposal, is to play it cool, calm and collected.  If you are going out make sure you look gorgeous.   Try to stay in the moment and enjoy your food, the location, the ambience.  Talk to your partner rather than scan the room for a lurking violinist!

If no proposal appears and you are hurt and upset then say you are feeling under the weather and have an early night – rather than start the relationship wrecking strop I mentioned earlier.

In the morning with a clear head you can then make plans to have the conversation you need to have with your partner.

There’s one last question you should ask yourself too.

Are my expectations realistic?

I often hear of people who after just a few short months are so overcome with love that they are ready to hear the “will you marry me” and run off into the sunset. For most of us that is much too short a time to decide whether someone is worth spending the rest of our life with.

For others, having enough money saved up and making sure that their friends and family like their other half really matter.

I suspect lots of engagements happen just to keep the other partner quiet after too much nagging about setting the date. And, as we all know, an engagement can be dragged out for years – anything to avoid actually setting the date.

Desperation isn’t attractive and even today, I think a bit of mystery and independence work wonders when you’re trying to snare the partner of your dreams.  What’s that antiquated expression?  “A man chases a woman until she catches him”.

If you haven’t been together long and haven’t even discussed marriage, then Valentine’s Day is most likely not going to be the day your big proposal happens.

But what if I’m asked and I don’t want to?

What if that proposal does turn up and you just don’t know how you feel?  Actually I think most of us have a very strong gut instinct which tells us exactly how we feel but we often ignore it.

It’s so tempting to put the ring on, accept the congratulations, start planning the big party but if it’s wrong, a wedding isn’t going to put it right.

If you are really not sure just say “that’s so lovely and I really care about you but I’d like a little more time for us to get to know each other (or spend time together) before we make such a big commitment”.

Be kind but above all – be honest!

I really hope you get the Valentine’s Day proposal you long for (if that’s what you truly want) but just remember, it’s how you partner treats you the other 364 days of the year that is the truest indicator of their love.

Planning Your Wedding? Here’s 5 Ways To Save Money Without Sacrificing Style

Even if you’re determined to make your wedding day extra special, you might not be prepared to part with vast sums of money for the privilege. But the fact is, if you’re not careful when planning your big day, costs can quickly spiral out of control.  Organising a wedding on a budget can be a challenge so bear the following ideas in mind.

Back detail of wedding dress - planning a stylish wedding on a budget - motherdistracted.co.uk
There are plenty of beautiful second-hand and vintage bridal gowns to be had

From your clothing to your catering, you’ll have a host of expenses to cover.

The good news is, it’s possible to save money on your nuptial celebrations without sacrificing on style in the process.

Ideas to save money for your wedding on a budget

The following five suggestions could help you keep your spending under control.

1. Select a second-hand dress 

Wedding dresses don’t tend to come cheap, but there is a way to bring your costs down. Instead of buying brand new, you can take your pick from the selection of second hand wedding dresses now available.

There are a host of gorgeous garments to choose from online and from specialist stores on the high street.

Whether you want a classic, embellished, lace-trimmed or vintage look, you should be able to find something that suits and that fits within your spending limit.

2. Book off-peak 

Another top money-saving tip is to arrange your ceremony outside of the peak wedding season.

Most people want to tie the knot in the warm spring or summer weather.

So, by planning yours between November and March (excluding Valentine’s Day), you can reduce your bill by between 20 and 30 per cent.

Also, you may be able to drive costs down further by walking down the aisle on a Friday or Sunday rather than a Saturday.

3. Have your ceremony and reception in one place 

Consider having your ceremony and reception in one location too.

For example, if you do the whole thing in a hotel, you won’t have to worry about the cost of transporting guests between venues.

Garden set up for a wedding - planning a stylish wedding on a budget - motherdistracted.co.uk
Save money by holding the ceremony and reception in the same place

If you’re planning to tie the knot in a church, find out if there are any suitable places to hold your reception in nearby.

As well as saving you cash, this can cut your stress levels on the big day.

4. Get someone you know to do the photography 

Your wedding day will be over before you know it, so you’ll no doubt want plenty of pictures to remind you of it.

The trouble is, professional photographers can cost a fortune.

So, if you know someone who’s skilled behind the lens and who has a good quality camera, why not ask them to take your snaps instead?

Sometimes, the pictures taken by friends and family are the best when it comes to capturing the intimacy and emotion of these romantic events.

Wedding shoes and bouquet - planning a stylish wedding on a budget - motherdistracted.co.ukl

5. Have a buffet instead of a sit-down dinner 

Having a sit-down dinner might be a tempting idea, but it won’t come cheap.

An effective way to make your catering more cost-effective is to opt for a buffet instead.

You could bring your food bill down by a significant sum if you select this less formal dining style, so it’s certainly worth thinking about.

Your guests will enjoy the grub just as much, and you won’t be left with as big a hole in your pocket.

Each of these five suggestions could make you major savings, and the best thing is, they don’t require you to sacrifice on style if you want a wedding on a budget.

10 Essentials For Your Wedding Checklist

When you are planning for the biggest day of your life, you need two things quick smart: a pen and paper. Lists are life, and plans are everything if you want things to work without fail. When you get engaged, life starts to spin quickly, which means you need to jot down your ideas as soon as they pop into your head. With that in mind, here are ten things that should be on your wedding checklist, so that you can ensure everything goes smoothly.

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  1. Folders. You need somewhere to keep your receipts, quotes, lists and templates of invitations and save the dates. Folders are lifesavers when you are surrounded by bits of paper, and you can be professional and organised with the right one.
  2. Finances. One of your many lists should detail your budget. You need to have a financial list so that you know that you can afford a live band or that Vera Wang gown. Your planning and searching are going to be budget based, so get that down in writing first so that you have a figure to work from.
  3. Guests. Understanding how many guests you and your groom want at the wedding is crucial. IT defines what size venue you need, how many you need to cater for, how many invitations, and how many bottles of wine you need to order. The guest list needs confirming early – so jot it down as soon as you can.
  4. Delegate. On your lists, you need to think about delegating to others. You can’t shoulder the burden of an entire wedding by yourself and your mother is likely chomping at the bit to get involved. Let her! You will achieve your goals for your wedding day much better with the tasks spread out.
  5. Confirmations. All of your confirmations for quotes from vendors, booking references, supplier information all should be put together in a secure folder. You can keep an eye on the suppliers that you’ve contacted, and you can confirm what you need to to ensure that everything is kept on track. 
  6. Photographers. For your engagement, you may have had a photoshoot. Use the same photographers for your wedding if they are available. You’ll know their details already, and you may even be able to book a package early with a good discount.
  7. Caterers. Booking in advance is essential, and you need to think about allergies and special meals that you may need to plan. Wedding meals aren’t just the main serving, either. You may have nibbles and appetisers with Pimms on entry, and you should think about a later buffet after the dancing. 
  8. Honeymoons. Holidays are always fun to plan, and this one is the one you REALLY want to enjoy. Your honeymoon should be carefully researched and designed early so that you can snag the best deals.
  9. Invitations. These are something to buy the moment your guest list is finalised. People need notice, and you need to do some research into the designs that you want. 
  10. Double Check. Lastly, you need to double-check everything that you’ve done and tick as you go. Once a job is finished, mark it as such so that you don’t overdo it!


This Request May Make You Turn That Wedding Invite Down!

On Mumsnet not so long ago there was a thread which queried how tacky it was, on a scale of minor social embarrassment to pure greed, to ask for a wedding gift of CASH.

My own wedding in 2011 was a quite a small, quiet affair and we had a wedding list at a local department store with a few items on it – not a lot because the Husband couldn’t be faffed and I didn’t really feel comfortable shopping with other people’s money – which is essentially what these lists are.

Plus when you have been together a fair few years, it’s not as if you need wedding presents to set up a home, is it?

That was surely the original purpose of wedding presents in the days of innocence when two young people pledged their troth and set up home together with multiple toasters and a set of pastry forks.

It seems some weddings are now all about the money and not about the meaning. Rather than focus on a celebration surrounded by nearest and dearest, by old friends and new who mean something to you, some seem to focus only on the value of the gift their guests can bring.

Yes, weddings can be horrendously expensive but nobody is forcing you to book Westminster Abbey, the BBC Concert Orchestra and a flock of doves to be released as you walk back up the aisle.

You do not have to bus in Mary Berry to sort out your wedding cake nor have your wedding invitations hand-etched by monks in a remote Italian monastery.

Even Meghan and Harry didn’t pay for the entirety of their own nuptials, much to the irritation of Republicans everywhere.  The Government paid for the security, Meghan paid for the dress and the Royals paid for everything else apparently.

My point is – have an expensive wedding by all means – it IS your day after all – but don’t expect your guests to foot the bill.

The mum in question had been invited to an evening do with a request for a cash gift and felt she couldn’t get out of it because it would create ‘tension’.

It’s so British, isn’t it?  The refusal to show bad form or appear unseemly whilst you are being royally being taken advantage of – or, some might say, fleeced.  She hadn’t even been invited to the ceremony.

Now if it’s a close relative, there’s an argument for a cash gift before the wedding to help them out. But I think that’s something best kept away from the actual day.

You could, of course, ignore the request and just give a card or a gift of your own choosing but that rather puts the matter up for discussion after the honeymoon, doesn’t it?

And that would surely be a really fraught ‘chat’.

So what do you say?  If it’s a relative I’d say, “Oh I’ve already got you something I’m afraid” and smile mysteriously.  If it’s just an acquaintance, I’d tell them that you have minor day surgery and can’t get out of it.

Because it’s not just the wedding present these days, is it?  It’s outfits, transport, childcare (for those who can’t bear the idea of kids at a ceremony designed to celebrate the union of those who presumably want to have kids), hen nights, spa days and on and on…….

With all the money you save by crying off you could probably afford a second honeymoon for yourself.

Top Tips on Choosing a Vintage Engagement Ring

So you’re set on proposing to your special someone and your plan is coming together – the flowers, the date and even the restaurant. You’re ready to make your commitment official and now all that’s left to do is buy a beautiful diamond engagement ring from a reputable jeweller like https://carusjewellery.com/.

Luckily, you already know your partner adores vintage rings. Half the struggle of choosing the right engagement ring is already over when you know what style your partner prefers. You only need to choose the best looking vintage engagement ring and you’re ready to pop the question.

vintage engagement rings - diamond ring on a grey background

Few of us are experts at shopping for vintage engagement rings so here are some tips you may find useful.

Shopping for Vintage Engagement Rings

You will also find vintage and certified diamond rings in the UK from Serendipity Diamonds. Not only do they have a great selection, but they also have a wonderful customer service that makes your shopping experience much easier.

Check the durability 

The ring may be vintage but there’s no excuse for it to break after just a few years of wearing. Check the durability of the engagement ring. It should hold just as well as modern rings.

The great news is that most vintage engagement rings are made with sturdy materials. This was back when mass-produced rings weren’t popular yet and artisans actually took the time to craft jewellery. Quality materials were used to build handmade rings back then.

The setting should not be loose 

Some vintage rings, because they are old, can have loose stones in them. Check if the ring’s stones are firmly held together by the setting. If not, you can have it re-set at the jeweller so it holds tight as if it’s brand new again.

A return policy is a must

If you’re buying the vintage engagement ring online, checking the return policy is a must. You never know when you need to return the ring. It could be because your special someone may want to get it replaced or it’s not what you thought it would be like in person. Whatever it may be, a good return policy is always needed in case you need to return the ring.

All the 4 Cs are estimated

Because vintage rings are already intact, you most likely won’t be able to get a true valuation for your ring. Most jewellers won’t be willing to disassemble a vintage ring simply because you want to know the clarity. Instead, you will be given an estimate of the cut, clarity, and colour of the ring.

A sensible approach is to begin narrowing down your choices at reputable jewellery shops known for providing an accurate valuation for their rings. This helps take off the worry of whether the price you are being asked to pay is reasonable.

vintage engagement rings - two white gold wedding rings on an order or service

Consider the metal used in the wedding band

Vintage engagement rings often stand on their own which means it may be a challenge to find a band with a metal that will go best with your vintage engagement ring.

If you appreciate the beauty of hers and hers wedding rings and plan to get one for your partner, you can wear it on the hand that doesn’t have the vintage engagement ring on it. It keeps the integrity of the vintage engagement ring without neglecting the wedding band which symbolises the union of your love.

Those are just some of the things to keep in mind when shopping for vintage engagement rings. I hope these tips help. And if things come to worst and your partner doesn’t like your choice, remember that return policy!

What other tips do you have for choosing a vintage engagement ring? Let me know in the comments!

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Choosing the perfect wedding ring

You’re already engaged, and you can’t wait to finally marry your husband-to-be, but one thing is missing – choosing the perfect wedding ring.

Choosing the perfect wedding ring - a beautiful diamond ring

When you’ve already had your engagement ring chosen for you, sometimes it can be difficult to decide which wedding ring is right for you. With so many different types of cut, colour, clarity and carat to choose from, it can be a daunting task before the big day arrives. Together with Angelic Diamonds, specialist retailers in bespoke wedding rings, here are the definitive need-to-knows when it comes to choosing a ring that looks perfect on your finger.

Things to consider when choosing the perfect wedding ring

Diamond cut

Out of the four key characteristics of your ring’s diamond, the cut is the most important. This is because the cut has the greatest influence on the diamond’s sparkle, meaning the better the cut, the more the diamond will sparkle on your wedding day.

You should keep in mind that just because a diamond has perfect clarity and colour grade, it can still appear dull. The only thing that keeps a diamond from looking dull is its cut.

To put it simply, a diamond’s cut is dependent on its light performance – or what we generally consider it sparkle. So, the perfect ring with an ideal diamond cut will not be too shallow or too deep, and it will allow light to pass through it so that it reflects evenly throughout the diamond.


Of the four, this is the second most important factor when considering the perfect wedding ring.  The eye detects sparkle from the diamond cut first, and then detects the colour of the diamond second.

If you want to make the most of your wedding ring on a budget, then choose a near-colourless diamond grade between G-H. Colour will not be detected by the naked eye, which will make you and your diamond look perfect on the day, and in the photos. Colour in diamonds appears as a pale yellow, so if this is evident anywhere in the ring you are thinking about buying, we would recommend avoiding it.


If you’re unsure as to what this means, the clarity of your diamond ring refers to the small imperfections that are within all diamonds, which are known as inclusions. The fewer inclusions in the ring, the better the clarity, which means your wedding ring will shine bright no matter where you are.

Don’t worry, if your ring only contains a few inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, it’s unlikely that they will be seen easily. By purchasing an SI (slightly included) quality diamond, you’re able to buy something visually stunning, without having to pay the cost of a diamond that contains no inclusions and no imperfections.


Many brides misunderstand this all-important factor when it comes to the 4cs, the carat weight of the diamond on your wedding ring. Many believe that it refers to the diamond’s size, and not its weight, this isn’t the case – so try to keep this in mind when choosing your ideal ring for the wedding.

The cut of the diamond will change how large the carat weight appears, so it’s important to get a good balance of both so that your ring sits well on the finger, but also provides you with the shine and brilliance you need to make heads turn on your wedding day.

Go-to quick tips

To make sure your ring matches the perfection of your wedding day, take these other factors into considerations when choosing your ring:

If carat weight is important to you, consider a diamond with a good cut, with an SI1-SI2 clarity and an I or J colour grade.

Keep in mind that based on the size of your finger, the larger the diamond will appear.

Not all ring fittings will fit all diamond carats and shapes, so it’s important to consider what type of diamond shape you’d like before choosing its design.

Choosing the perfect wedding ring needn’t be complicated if you follow these tips and you can use them all over again when you choose an eternity ring!

How to Pick a Custom Engagement Ring

If you think custom-made jewellery is only for superstars or couples with unique tastes, think again. You may have difficulty finding a ring that suits your and your partner’s style or you may have something very specific in mind that you’d prefer to declare your love with.

Image by InspirationDC via Flickr

Considering a custom ring? Here’s what you need to know:

1. Pick a Reputable Jeweller 

This cannot be stressed enough. Talk to friends and family members or even other brides whose style you like and get their personal recommendations. If you’re going to be buying a diamond, be sure that it comes with a GIA report or some sort of other appraisal certified by a reputable jewellery institution. If you already have a diamond, a jeweller will be able to reset it in the setting you choose. If you’re stumped for ideas, visit the store and check their beautiful hand crafted jewellery.

2. Start Looking Early

It can take a while to get a custom-made ring ready. Typically, you start by consulting the jeweller who then creates a sketch based on your preferences. They then make a raw mould of the ring for you to review before adding any finishing touched. The mould won’t be polished and it won’t have any stones in it yet. So it takes a little imagination to picture what the final product will look like.

3. What to Look for When Choosing a Diamond 

If you’re going to be buying a diamond, it’s important to understand the 4 C’s – colour, clarity, cut and carat weight. Your choice is really going to depend on budget and then personal taste.

If you’re on a budget, try picking a diamond that has a carat weight a little smaller say, one or one and a half carat.

4. Try Different Settings On 

Many people prefer to choose engagement rings together these days and this is a pretty good idea. The jeweller will ask you some specific questions like the width of the ring you would prefer and whether you would like rounded corners, for instance. It’s worth taking along photos of rings that you like to help the jeweller get a good idea of what you envision.
If you’d prefer to surprise your future bride, take a look in her jewellery box to get an idea of her style. Determine if she prefers warmer tones or white gold, and if her pieces are simple or more ornate. Don’t forget to consider her lifestyle. If her job is very hands-on, or she loves the outdoors, you’ll want a setting that has a lower profile.

5. It Is Usually Easier to Get the Engagement Ring and Wedding Band Together 

Visit their Melbourne store today and you will see that Simon West Fine Jewellery offers a fantastic range of ring sets. Going to the same jeweller for both the engagement and wedding ring means you will ensure the bands work well together. What’s more, it usually works out cheaper to get a set.

Custom-made engagement rings are a wonderful idea for brides and grooms who want a one-of-a-kind piece or really want to use stones that have been passed down to them by family members. Just take note of the tips discussed above whenever you’re planning to get a custom ring.

If you’ve any tips of your own for choosing the perfect ring, I’d love to hear them.

Five Steps To The Most Wonderful Wedding

Every bride wants their wedding to be absolutely incredible – that’s perfectly normal. You’ll only have one wedding day, so making it the most wonderful experience is important. Not just for yourself and your groom to be, but also for your guests. You want everyone in attendance to have an amazing time, right?

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While most brides know that they want their wedding day to be spectacular, knowing how to go about it can be stressful. I can remember wondering how I would be able to plan every last detail of my wedding – I didn’t think it would be possible. However, by taking the right steps, I was able to plan the most amazing wedding, and you can too.

Here is my guide to five steps to the most wonderful wedding:

Step 1: Choose your venue

Before setting a date or sending out invitations, the first thing that you need to do is choose your venue. If you set a date before picking the venue, you may not be able to get married in the place that you want. That’s why it’s important that the first step you take is looking at and choosing venues.

Step 2: Set a date

Once you have found the perfect place to say your vows and hold your reception, set a date. It’s important that you set your date at least six months in advance so that your guests have lots of notice.

As well as being important for your guests, setting the date sooner rather than later is also crucial for your vendors. If you want to ensure that you get the vendors that you want, you need to book them in advance. Obviously, without having a date for your celebrations, this would be impossible.

Step 3: Choose your wedding party

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Before sending out the guest invitations for your big day, you need to select the wedding party. This means that you need to pick your bridesmaids and maid of honour, and your husband-to-be needs to pick his best man and groomsmen.

Choosing these can be difficult, especially if you have a large group of close friends and family. Pick who you want to help you plan your wedding – choose people who you think would be useful when it comes to planning your big day.

Step 4: Send out save the dates, followed by invitations

Once you have set a date and chosen your wedding party, the first thing that you need to do is send out save the dates. These simply tell your guests the date of your wedding, so that they can put it in their diaries. Ideally, these should coordinate in terms of design, with your invitations. So make sure to think the design and style of your save the dates though.

Around a month after sending out your save the dates, you then need to send out your wedding invitations. These should include all of the information about your wedding, including the date, time, location, and dress code. There are various designs of wedding invitations to choose from, what style you opt for is up to you.

Step 5: Get planning the details

Once you have done all of the above, all that’s left to plan is the ‘small details’ of your big day. This includes picking your colour scheme, wedding dress, flowers, and also, your wedding photography.

Leave yourself at least four months to get all these seemingly small details sorted out. As often, these things can take a while to get sorted. Write a list of everything that you need to do, from choosing a wedding dress to hiring the wedding cars, and tick each thing off as you do it. That way, you can ensure that you won’t forget to do anything.

Wedding planning can be incredibly stressful. However, if you are organised about it, you can make planning a fantastic wedding, much easier for yourself.

Ideas For Making Your Big Day As Memorable As Possible

Everyone wants a memorable wedding, don’t they?  Both for the happy couple and their guests.  We all plan to get married just the once (although that might be a little optimistic these days!), but here are some ideas for making your big day as special, and as romantic as possible.

Photo by Tom The Photographer on Unsplash

I know that when I got married, my main concern was that my big day wouldn’t be memorable enough. There was no need to worry, however, as mine and my husband’s wedding is still reminisced about often, by us, and our friends.

The key to making your wedding unique and special, as well as memorable, is planning. If you want a day that is talked about for all the right reasons, here’s what you need to do:

Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

Serve delicious food

Have you ever been to a wedding where the food wasn’t great? The chances are that the fact the food wasn’t very nice was the thing that you remembered most about that wedding. Believe it or not, one of the best ways to make your wedding a success is with the most delicious food.

Choose a venue for the reception that comes highly recommended for its yummy food. Look for somewhere that not only serves tasty food, but that also presents dishes well and has a high hygiene rating. We’ve all heard that story about the wedding where every guest came down with food poisoning – don’t let your wedding go the same way.

Hire a band

Yes, hiring a DJ might be cheaper than booking a band, but every couple has a DJ. If you want your big day to stand out, hiring a live band could be the way to go. No one is going to remember another party with a DJ, but one with a fantastic live band will be easily remembered.

Not only will hiring a live band make your wedding more memorable, but it will also give a better atmosphere. People will be more inclined to get up and dance if you have a band playing, instead of a DJ.

Photo by Bin Thiều on Unsplash

Pick somewhere unique for your wedding

While a church or hotel is a great location for a wedding, picking somewhere a little more unique could be a good idea. Art galleries, museums, beaches, and all sorts of other places, can make great wedding venues.

If you want to wow your guests, you need to choose a location that’s different to the norm. Weddings abroad can be a good option, as they are not only unique but also incredibly memorable. No one forgets attending a wedding on a tropical beach, do they?

Be creative with traditions

While following traditions can be nice, if you want a celebration that’s memorable, get creative. For example, instead of giving each guest a glass of bubbly for the toasts, give them a cocktail instead. Or, instead of having traditional music or entertainment, opt for something a little bit different.

When it comes to making your wedding day as enjoyable and memorable as possible, thinking outside the box is key. If you take the time to come up with some unique ideas, you can ensure that your wedding is as memorable as possible.

Choosing The Best Wedding Dress for a Civil Wedding Ceremony

This is the last in my series of guest posts from Venus Bridal UK and here the focus is on finding a wedding dress suitable for a civil wedding ceremony.

If you’re getting married in a hotel, as I did, you may find a dress with a long train rather unsuitable!

Another consideration is that you may well be sitting down for a longer period of time, particularly if your reception is following straight on from the ceremony.

My dress had lacing at the back so it could be let out for breathing (and toilet breaks!).

I’d also advise deciding whether or not you will want to wear the dress again when making your choice.

I planned to cut the train off and get a dress-maker to turn my wedding dress into an evening gown – but I haven’t quite got around to it yet.

Finally, if you do plan to wear your wedding dress again, be aware that your weight may well change (I was a stone lighter on my wedding day!), and that even if you plan to wear it again, you might not be able to get back into it!

Here’s the advice from Venus Bridal.

Where you have your civil wedding will help influence what you will wear on your big day but should by no means limit it.

With this in mind, your dress needs to suit the season and the location but you should also think about the type of civil ceremony you’re having, as civil ceremonies take place in countless settings – including on a beach, in a fairytale castle or in a hotel ballroom.

However, if you want to look like a princess there’s nothing stopping you but you can also go for a relaxed and casual look or even fancy dress.

That’s the beauty of civil weddings.

And, of course, you can always ask your partner what they would like to see you in.

Type of outfit

For a civil ceremony, you can essentially wear anything you like – a short dress, smart suit, T-shirt and jeans, or even a themed outfit – but whatever you decide on make sure you feel comfortable in your final choice.

Your wedding day is the time you show friends and family how much you and your betrothed love each other – it is not a time to experiment or try to be something you’re not.

But with a civil ceremony you can allow yourself more leeway than with a traditional wedding.

Most brides would not wear a short dress for a church wedding but they are ideal at civil ones.

And then there’s the practicalities to consider: a short dress is often less expensive, easier to carry if going abroad, more comfortable and you can wear it again.

Dress shape

If you decide on a dress think about your best and worst features and then choose a shape that hides the bits you’re less fond of and highlights your best parts.

Colour of your outfit

One of the great advantages of a civil wedding is the freedom to choose a wedding dress that is not white.

This is great for those who don’t have the right colouring for a brilliant white dress.

But you can go beyond the off -white shades such as ivory or cream and really go to town with dramatic reds, pale golds or ethereal lilacs.


Wedding dresses come in a variety of fabrics but when deciding what fabric to use it is a good idea to remember what time of year and/or the location.

With a civil ceremony you have a lot more choice, you no longer are confined to satin and silk or crepe and brocade.


Unless you still want to look like a princess on your special day it is probably preferable not to wear a train.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to go bareheaded – you can wear a headdress or a hat that suits your dress. In fact, you can make a real statement with what you wear on your head.

Whatever wedding outfit you choose to wear for a civil ceremony, the bridal attire can be just as beautiful and as unforgettable as a more traditional wedding gown.

This blog post was written by Venus Bridal, bridal gown designers and manufacturers who provide timeless, glamorous and diverse wedding gowns to stockists throughout the whole of the UK.

Wedding Dresses For Mature Brides

This is the second in my series of features about bridal wear by www.venusbridal.co.uk.  In this post, we’re considering the type of wedding dresses more mature brides may prefer.

I know that when I married at 45 (for the first time!) in late September 2011, I didn’t want a ‘meringue’.  Hands up, I did try a few wedding dresses, but much as I wanted to look like Scarlett O’Hara, I just didn’t feel comfortable with all that froth and voluminous material.  And since we were having a civil wedding ceremony in a hotel, acres of train and anything uncomfortable to sit in was also unsuitable.  For my bridal headpiece, I also discounted a veil and went instead for a more modest tiara.

wedding dresses for mature brides

I think that if you choose a simpler style, you can make up for it with embellishment and extra detail, for example, crystals or extra lace.

Anyway, here is the advice from Venus Bridal.

Wedding Dresses For The Over ’40s

Maybe you have found love late in life or it’s your second time around. Whatever the reason for being a mature bride, one thing doesn’t change, choosing your wedding dress will be one of the most important decisions you make for your special day. You’re not a baby but neither are you old. You are in your prime and you deserve to look amazing.

wedding dresses for mature brides

There has been no better time than now to be a mature bride. Most of the taboos have gone and you can wear what you want. There are no rules and all you need to do is find the perfect dress for you. With this in mind, there are two things to accomplish – looking fantastic and feeling comfortable.

Many late brides want to feel like themselves and not as if they are in costume. In a recent mature bride survey, most of the participants said they wanted some sort of sleeves on their wedding gown, with 3/4 length being the most popular. When it came to necklines, the number one choice was the V neckline. Many went for streamline silhouettes, like a sheath or medium-full A-line, and a lot of the late brides preferred a shrug or a jacket to a wrap.

All in all, the general preference was more coverage but without feeling matronly and the desire to feel relaxed.

Then there’s the choice of what type of style of gowns are most suitable for brides who are 40 plus.


Fashion trends keep moving all the time, so do the trends of wedding gowns. However, age is no barrier to looking sleek and current.


A classic wedding dress does just what it says on the packet. It doesn’t date and it’s always in vogue.

wedding dresses for mature brides


Choose the era you love for an individual look on your special day. But whatever year, a vintage dress is bound to add glamour to your day.


Two pieces can be more versatile than one. The outfit can be traditional or why not be more daring and mix and match.

As with any bride, mature brides need to play to their figure strengths and hide any weaknesses.

Empire waist

While the empire dress fits well on most body types, it is especially suited for those brides with a smaller bust since it draws attention to the neckline and creates definition. The design of the empire dress is also ideal for covering other unwanted body features such as a long torso, short legs, or a pear-shaped figure. Since the dress flows from the bust line, it can easily leave these areas undefined.

Strapless with a jacket

A stylish jacket worn with a strapless bridal gown with look elegant and will cover the back and arms, which can sometimes be a problem area.

wedding dresses for mature brides


The A-Line style dress is flattering to all figure types and is a great choice of style for older brides.

Lastly, you will need to think of what material you want your dress made out of. Many mature brides prefer something that is care and wrinkle-free. Draping fabrics such as satin, chiffon or polyester silk blends that require less maintenance are a popular choice for brides getting married in their later years.

Once you’ve decided more or less what you want the fun begins, as remember, the perfect dress is out there waiting for you, no matter what your age is.

This blog post was written by Venus Bridal, bridal gown designers and manufacturers who provide timeless, glamorous and diverse wedding gowns to stockists throughout the whole of the UK.

Autumn & Winter Brides – Finding THE Gown For The Cooler Months

We married in late September at the fabulous St. David’s Hotel & Spa in Cardiff. We knew we were taking a bit of a risk with the Great British weather but luckily we saw some sun. Nobody wants to shiver at the altar or need defrosting at their reception!

If you are planning an autumn or winter wedding, bridal wear specialists venusbridal.co.uk have given me their thoughts on wedding gowns suitable for the colder months.

autumn winter bridal gowns

From more budget-friendly prices to a better chance of getting the venue you want, there are many, many reasons to have a wedding in the autumn or winter months instead of a more typical spring or summer celebration. In fact in the world of weddings, autumn and winter could be seen as the new spring and summer.

But the best part of getting hitched in cooler months is definitely the wedding dresses, cover-ups and accessories an autumn or winter affair allows you to play around with. So after you’ve decided on the dress style that complements your body you can go wild with the colours of your wedding season. 

autumn winter bridal gowns

Although a white wedding dress is perfect for any time of year, autumn and winter weddings give you a chance to be more adventurous with colour. A colourful gown will add drama to your wedding day look. But if you still prefer to be more traditional you can take elements of autumn and winter colours and add them to a white dress.

Autumn Colours 

What about a dress that uses the hues of autumn – orange, deep rusty red, brown, olive and white gold? Or why not mix up the colours and go for a two tone wedding outfit.

Winter Colours

The colours associated with winter are stunning – red, gold and silver. Wintertime can provide a wedding with an entirely different feel by introducing more intensity and drama. Selecting a winter wedding dress can be a very different experience from any other time of the year and many winter brides wear bridal gowns with Christmas-themed colours and accents.

autumn winter bridal gowns


With the chillier weather, fabrics can be heavier and richer. You should think about using velvets, taffeta, satin, brocade and heavy silk. If you love lace choose a denser variety like Battenberg. Or you could create your own stylish, bespoke look – starting with a simple crêpe, satin or chiffon dress and layering everything from sequined overdresses and tiered skirts to washed silk sashes.

Staying warm and stylish 

You don’t have to sacrifice style just because the weather is freezing. Keep cosy with some seasonal accessories such as a wedding dress cover up. It can be as simple as a light jacket, an angora cardigan or a cashmere wrap. Even a lace or satin bolero can add warmth. A capelet is another excellent cover-up option. Some may prefer a wedding dress with long sleeves; in fact, sleeved gowns are back in a big way. But you could also add to the drama of the event with a glamourous faux fur stole. Other popular choices include fur hand warmers and full-length coats in white.

autumn winter bridal gowns

Autumn and winter weddings allow you to bring out your playful side, from wedding bouquets that include berries and turning leaves to a winter wonderland venue. Let the cooler months bring colour to your special day.

With an almost endless choice, finding your wedding dress, whatever the season, is one of the most exciting parts about planning your big day.

This guest post was written by Venus Bridal, bridal gown designers and manufacturers who provide timeless, glamorous and diverse wedding gowns to stockists throughout the whole of the UK.