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 editor@your-sussex.wedding

To view more Q&A's on a different topic, please select one from the list below.

Hot topic: Outdoor weddings

Local experts offer stellar advice on creating an idyllic outdoor wedding

Q. Can we get married in our own back garden?

A. Patricia Bentley says: You can get married just about anywhere. You need to give notice at your local register office. Everybody has to do this regardless of ceremony plans. Once you've given notice, you will have a simple ceremony at the register office of your choice with two witnesses a few weeks later. You'll sign the register and receive your marriage certificate.

Before you do any of that, I recommend that you talk with a celebrant to arrange for your own personal and meaningful ceremony to take place after the legal ceremony just about anywhere you want, licensed for marriages or not. It can be your favourite pub, forest clearing, beach, hotel, your garden – anywhere. When a celebrant conducts your wedding, it will be just as you want it. Your vows can be traditional or personal; you'll exchange rings and be presented with a certificate. Your day – your way.

Q. We're planning an outdoor wedding, but there's so much to think about! Can you give us some guidance on where to start?

A. Lorna Reeves says: While the UK has an abundance of beautiful outdoor spaces, we also have somewhat unpredictable weather, so you'll need to hire cover – for rain or shade. Therefore, in order to make a start on your planning, you'll need to consider the two main priorities that will dictate everything else: guest numbers and food.

How many people do you want to invite to your ceremony and reception? Any extra in the evening? Once you have decided, make some calls. Suppliers can give you accurate prices and help when you call to book a marquee, tipi or tent. Cover suppliers have so much experience. As long as you can tell them your date and size of wedding, they can advise you on what you might need including extras like electricity and loos. Ask questions. They will help!

Next – food! With so many options, from hog roasts and picnics to afternoon teas and served meals, the world is your oyster. Start with thinking about what you love to eat. Go to caterers armed with that information plus your party size, and they'll work with you to provide your dream menu within your budget.

Make those first essential decisions, and you enable experienced suppliers to help you by making the next steps clearer.

Q. Our nuptials will take place in our venue's grounds against the beautiful backdrop of the sea. What can you suggest in terms of flowers to style the area?

A. Bella Timbrell says: When your wedding venue's grounds are already stunning, it's sometimes hard to know how you can add to it. When choosing flowers for a wedding, I always take into consideration the choices of the bride and groom but also look at what's to be found at the venue's location.

For a wedding near the sea, I would think about adding flora like roses, dahlias, daisies, calla lilies, eryngium, succulents, grasses and hypericum berries. The palette being blue, grey, white and green, foliage choices could include eucalyptus, senecio, pittosporum and herbs like sage, lavender and rosemary. It might be worth asking your venue whether your florist can forage for foliage in their grounds – a lot of the greenery for Harry and Meghan's wedding came from the grounds of Windsor. Outside, floral arches and moongates can give you a good focal point for your nuptials, while floral aisles and hanging flowers can add to a dreamy ceremony.

Q. Our festival-themed wedding will be pretty spread out across a large area from our woodland vows to the wedding breakfast in a tipi. How can we be sure to capture everything that's going on throughout the day?

A. Morgan Andrews says: I'd recommend a well-organised crew of at least two camera operators. Our team use in-ear radio mics to coordinate themselves so they can follow a tight plan and react quickly to capture those wonderfully random moments of magic.

You'll want a team that has small and light yet well-stabilised cameras. This means that they can cover a lot of ground on foot without getting fatigued, and the footage will always be steady. A drone is the next piece of essential kit for capturing the scale of a festival wedding. Make sure the pilots all hold valid PfCO certificates issued by the CAA to show they operate safely and within the law.

Imagery aside, sound is one thing that many fail to consider when having a wedding film produced, and it can make or break your keepsake. We've developed a system that delivers crisp, clear vows and speeches without tangled wires that's so small it won't ruin the line of a suit. The same goes for any live music. We would recommend that whoever shoots your big day gets chummy with the AV team so they can patch into the live feed for distortion-free audio.

Q. How can we style our marquee wedding reception in the best possible way?

A. Annabel Grange says: It's important to add a colour or greenery to your marquee as they're supplied in plain ivory or white, although you can have a coloured swag added to the walls. At the entrance blossom or bay trees line the path for your guests and look great decorated with a soft organza bow and lights for the evening. Bespoke fresh flower garlands and large heart-shaped displays, brimming with roses and seasonal flowers, also look great for entrance walkways.

Table centres are vital. Tall vases or martini glasses filled with large blooms immediately bring the space to life, with little else required except for a table mirror and some petals or crystals. If you're looking at lower table versions, then the addition of lanterns or string lights hung from the ceiling will help fill that space. For an unusual twist, suspend a flower hoop from above.

For the top table, a larger floral arrangement packed full of blooms with only a small amount of greenery tumbling over the front of the table looks striking against the stark walls of the marquee. Larger pedestal arrangements either side of the top table finish off the look. With a free-flowing softer style, these can be used for the ceremony first.

For the evening, strategically placed uplighters create a colour wash along the walls and make a cosy atmosphere. Also, LED light strings in nearby trees and bushes give a pretty evening feel – as do glass balls with LED lights inside hung from branches. Finally, don't be afraid of embracing a theme. They work really well on such a blank canvas. Plus, there'll be plenty of space to add props or larger bespoke designs in corner areas.

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