Here is a selection of Q&As from Your South Wales Wedding magazine. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view more Q&A's on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Our experts help you make those all-important initial decisions
Q. I've always dreamt of wearing a designer dress for my wedding but we're on a tight budget as we're saving to start a family too. I've not even begun looking yet but wondered if there's any way I can get a big-name gown with a small price tag?
A. Maria Ryan says: Most bridal boutiques will have an end of season sale, usually in December or January, to sell their sample dresses to make way for the designers' new collections. It's often a great way to grab a big-name gown at a discount price; however bear in mind that you'll be buying a sample which may have been tried on before by other brides, so it may not be perfect.
At Sentiments, we rotate our sample stock frequently and usually have a sale week every three to four months. Because of this, most of the samples in our sale events are current season styles and are usually in pristine condition.
Q. I've got my heart set on a venue but it's too small for all of our family and friends. Should a stunning setting come before the guest list or vice versa?
A. Gaynor Openshaw-Smith says: It's a case of weighing up the venue and its location with the friends and family you really want at your special day. Firstly, I'd think hard about the guest list and ensure you're inviting people for the right reasons. Are you asking everyone you know to join you just for the sake of it or not to potentially upset distant relatives that you may not have seen or spoken to for years? Sometimes it's very difficult to know where to draw the line but your close friends and family members can help you take a more practical view and help you streamline your ever-growing guest list. You may then find the venue of your dreams will suit your numbers, but if not, don't forget to think outside the box. Does your venue have provision for a marquee or some outside space to host all your loved ones? This does depend on your budget and the venue's capability but it's certainly worth asking the question.
Alternatively, consider somewhere else. You may not have seen all the venues available to you; there may be unusual spots you may not have even thought of. The range of venues for weddings is ever increasing, from barns, majestic estates with grounds for a marquee, to golf clubs, castles, learning establishments, plus many more options. So do your research and sit down and come up with your top three. Then make an appointment to view them and get a feel for the place and the staff. Make sure you take a list of questions because you're sure to forget things when you're there, plus lots of other queries will spring to mind that you hadn't thought of. Make sure you feel comfortable with the venue and its wedding team and are confident that they'll make your day special.
Q. We're at the very early stages of wedding planning and are trying to work out our budget. When it comes to the wedding rings, what would you recommend and roughly how much money should we allow?
A. Angela Copp says: Your choice of wedding jewellery is a personal thing; with bands, many customers are opting for designs with stones that can be worn on their own or matched to their engagement rings.
To ensure you know precisely where your diamond has originated from, it's crucial you buy from a reputable jeweller who can trace the origins of the diamond.
To the untrained eye a diamond is just a sparkly stone. However, when it comes to selecting one, there are four key factors to consider – the four C's – cut, clarity, colour and carat. The best diamonds are characterised by a lack of hue and 'D' diamonds are completely colourless, making them the most sought after and the rarest in the world.
My advice is simple, instead of spending money on flawed diamonds, it's a better investment to purchase a smaller one of better quality, which is rarer, will sparkle for years and continue to increase in value.
Starting prices for a good diamond can be anything from £750 for a ring, £500 for a pendant and £300 for a pair of earrings, and beyond that, the sky's the limit.
The process of choosing can be daunting. We always invite our customers to visit us in store to learn about our stones and try on different styles. Bespoke designs are our speciality and we can work with our customers to create a design that's personal to them.
Q. Lots of couples I know have had engagement shoots and now that my partner's popped the question, I don't know whether we should opt for one too. Do you recommend we capture this happy time or wait until the big day?
A. Nick Murray says: Engagement shoots are an amazing way for you to get to know your photographer and to feel more relaxed on your wedding day. Besides, it's a ton of fun and a fab way to spend a few hours getting photos for you to keep and share with family and friends. I personally have a blast with my clients on engagement shoots.
We rock up to create something cool for them to keep. Some use the shots for their save-the-date cards, signing books and boards for the wedding reception, or simply have them framed to display at home. If you do opt for one, speak to your photographer to ask about specific locations you have in mind. I always suggest choosing a place that has a special meaning for both of you. That way, whenever you look back at the pictures, they resonate so much more than simply a convenient spot that's close to home. So ultimately, you come away with great images and far more importantly, they're another way to get excited about your wedding day – and that's what it's all about!
Q. My boyfriend and I have just got engaged and we'd like to tie the knot in 2017. The big questions are the date and theme. We'd like to finalise these details so that we can send out save-the-dates but how do we decide?
A. Paula Burns says: I've found that couples setting a wedding date do so based on a number of personal factors. For instance, a memorable anniversary or fond memories of a special time of year or loved one can play a significant part in the decision. If you find that none of these are resonating with you, is there a season that you love the most? Choosing this will also help you with your theme. Autumn and winter weddings embrace white and silver as well as warm colours like purple, orange and blue. Switch to spring and summer and you can choose pastels and lace or bright shades of yellow, gold, red and coral.
April and May nuptials are extremely popular, especially as the weather over recent years has tended to be quite sunny during these months. The vintage theme is still very much alive, and fresh flowers combined with the hessian and lace remains as eye catching as ever.
Alternatively there's something about a golden theme that can make every bride feel special.
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So glad I've discovered this wedding stamp! Fabulous, isn't it? A hand-drawn portrait of you and your husband-to-be is carved to create a stamp, which you can use on all of your stationery – and beyond the big day. I'll certainly be getting one when I tie the knot! Priced £52 from www.lilimandrill.etsy.com
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Whatever worries you have regarding your big day, our experts are here to guide you through. Pose all your wedding-related queries to those in the know.
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