Ask the experts

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Sussex 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

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Hot topic: Winter weddings

Our experts advise on wonderful winter weddings

Midnight feasts

Q. How can I incorporate our winter theme into our cake?

A. Elizabeth Chatfield says: Winter weddings are truly beautiful. They have a whole different feel about them to spring and summer celebrations. A winter wedding can let you introduce cosiness, Hygge spirit and that feeling of candlelit, log fire warmth. From a cake designer point of view it creates many opportunities. Some couples don't necessarily want to go down the Christmas route with their theme but do want to bring in some special winter enchantment.

There are so many fantastic products available to cake designers now that can be used to bring sparkle, embellishment and enchantment to a cake, all of which are now edible and food safe. Dustings of lustre, small pearlised sugar beads and some sparkling glitter confetti or squares can really add a touch of magic to a beautiful wedding cake.

If you prefer to keep your theme less bling you can opt for more rustic, magical elements which can include white, pale olive green and soft browns in sugar work, berries, leaves, beautiful full bloom sugar flowers in cool winter colours or even soft white chocolate cakes, wrapped in elegant white chocolate with white chocolate roses, stylish, decadent and elegant. There is of course always the option of a fantasy fairytale cake, complete with magical castle, sparkles and lights!

A fine feast

Q. How can we give our menu a seasonal vibe?

A. Lucy Painter says: We suggest you consider the addition of classic ingredients such as sage, chesnuts, cranberries and the use of traditional Christmas tipples across your menu.

Smoked salmon rilette, trio of beetroot, balsamic glazed shallots

Braised chicken, shallot, sage and chestnut stuffed ballontine, fresh horseradish creamed potato, garlic sautéed greens and a cranberry and port reduction

Cointreau poached apple and almond tart, creme anglaise

To finish
Duo of advocaat and Baileys orange-flavoured truffles

Magic and sparkle

Q. How can I make our wonderful winter wedding look as magical and enchanting as possible?

A. Kelly Kearley says: A winter wedding is so romantic! There's nothing more magical than the dark night sky enveloping your venue whilst inside your guests are surrounded by soft candle light, roaring fires, snuggle blankets and mulled wine!

The key to this enchantment is lighting. As with any event and venue, it's the lighting that creates the atmosphere and can make (or break) the ambience in the room.

For a magical and enchanting atmosphere think low mood lighting with candle flickers, roaring fires, soft uplighting and twinkly fairylights.

Any bright or harsh looks would kill the atmosphere in the room. But don't forget the other senses too; adding little touches such as soft blankets, mulled wine or scented candles and little eye catching details will play with the senses of your guests – they won't know what hit them!

Wrapped up

Q. I really want to transform my venue into a magical, seasonal paradise. How do you suggest I do this?

A. Annabel Grange says: Try updating classic round bouquets with the addition of glitter to create a magical touch. Roses, freesias, orchids, berries and calla lilies are in season so will be available at a good price.

When thinking about dressing your venue as a whole, consider uplighters at the entrance and bay trees by doorways decorate with white roses, lights and organza. Inside, a fairylit backdrop is a must for a magical touch. These could be in classic white or yellow or even a blue to add more of an atmosphere. Finish this off with white chair covers and silver sashes that can be matched with the table runners for an extra luxe touch.

Mistletoe and wine

Q. What are your key Christmas trends this year and how can we achieve them?

A. Rosie Chapman says: With 25th December just round the corner, we're surrounded with the sweet scent of oven-dried fruit and cinnamon infused with the potent smell of pines as we make bespoke wreaths.

As you may know, Pantone's Colour of the Year was Greenery; which translates perfectly for winter weddings. Think romantic, sumptuous trailing bouquets with soft, delicate ferns, eucalyptus and subtle shades of grey and green focusing on the more natural, English woodland concept. This charismatic and classical trend will continue into the New Year.

Another concept iis the white winter theme. This can be adopted to include cream and white flowers to mimic the clean and powdery feel of fresh snow, amongst an abundance of lush, fresh and fragrant tones of greenery.

Finally, why not consider trailing seasonal beauties? This look is obtained with gorgeous hanging arrangements like hoops and chandeliers full of botanicals that cascade freely. Ultimately, this is a modern, bohemian aesthetic coupled with a chic and simple implementation.

Setting the scene

Q. How to I choose a venue for a magical winter wedding?

A. Carolina Duarte says: The best way is to get married in a magical historical venue like the iconic 106 year old Dome! You can take your vows in the candlelit ballroom or in the wonderful dome, with panoramic views of the snowcovered South Downs and the winter seascape.

Then, it's time to kiss under the twinkling lights in the Whispering Gallery, enjoy dinner and dancing in the lounge and sip a cocktail on the private balcony looking out at the moonlit sea. The venue comes alive at Christmas with the smell of Nordic pine, mulled cider and roast chestnuts.

You can even create your own backdrop with a projection of your favourite Christmas movie.

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