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: What's hot?

Our experts address your wedding worries and tell us what’s hot and what’s not

Neon: The new black

Neon: The new black

Q. What's hot at the moment in terms of venue styling?

A. Alison Hood says: Neon signs have firmly hit the wedding hot list this year. Many of us want our big day to be stunning, but would also love to have that edge of cool and talk-ability. So a neon sign spelling out words of adoration or coolness is a wedding décor must-have.

Aside from the obvious pizzazz of the '80s-esque disco feel this splash of light can bring, what we love about neons is their ability to absolutely transform any space into something romantic, modern and stylish. When it comes to incorporating these beauties into your space the more unembellished the environment the better. They work magnificently against stark, exposed or rugged backdrops found in barns, churches and historical venues.

Soft, pastel flower choices, such as roses, peonies or hydrangeas can also accentuate these signs with the fusion of country-meets-cool. When it comes to bohemian, minimalistic, or even classic aesthetics complement with pampas grass, disco balls, foliage walls and large, geometric copper-piping frames.

For an insta-perfect wedding these typographic luminosities are a definite affirmative.

Blooms on a budget

Blooms on a budget

Q. We want show-stopping flowers but are working to a tight budget. What are your top tips for cost-effective wedding blooms?

A. Bella Timbrell says: ❤ Be prepared to compromise. The flowers you love might be really expensive but there are usually great alternatives. For example, David Austin roses look and smell amazing but there are other garden-style roses that can do the job and will still look fab.

❤ Choose flowers that are in season and locally grown. Flower farms generally sell blooms by the bucket, which makes them great value, plus you'll get an array of colour that can be styled however you like. Have a look at www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk to find a local grower.

❤ Choose your wedding date wisely! Save yourself a fortune by avoiding dates like Valentine›s Day and Mother›s Day, when flowers will be at their most expensive.

❤ Reuse and recycle. When deciding what arrangements you need, see if you can reuse them. For example, if you have a church wedding can you move the pedestals or aisle markers to the reception venue? I love using jam jars and old teapots for arrangements. They're low in cost, but look fantastic as centrepieces.

A rustic menu

A rustic menu

Q. We're getting married in September at a rustic barn venue. What food would you suggest to complement our day?

A. Caroline Laughton says: In a barn setting, you'll be looking for a more relaxed feel to the menu while still keeping the wow factor. We'd suggest starting with a farmhouse sharing platter accompanied by fresh vine tomatoes and homemade crackling. To follow, a meat board piled high with two deliciously seasoned choices such as pulled pork, carved beef or slow cooked lamb, which creates a great talking point at the tables. Or maybe your guests would like a barbecue, served at the table with a mix of meats and seafood? Why not throw in a skewer with fresh salads and new potatoes served on a colourful collection of plates to set off the room and table decorations?

For dessert, you could go for the classic brownie or deconstructed mixed berry pavlova, rippled meringue kisses and popping candy.

Candid camera

Candid camera

Q. I'm not keen on formal group shots, but want to make sure we get snaps of all of our guests. What can you recommend to make sure the informal outdoor atmosphere of our day is reflected in our photographs?

A. Justine Claire says: Firstly keep to small key groups for formals – close family and bridal party. It's important to get these done during the drinks reception as the photographer definitely knows who the most important people are. This should take no more than 15 minutes with the help of a groomsman or bridesmaid to collect the appropriate guests. It's great if there's a bit of humour whilst these are being taken, so the line-ups look happy and thrilled with the celebrations. It can also show off some of the wedding venue's views. After dinner when the guests are fed and watered, lovely and relaxed, generally they're more interested in informal group photos. These are usually a laugh because the guests are so relaxed. After dinner guests are more willing to walk and chat and have a laugh with the photographer too, which means the backdrop of the venue gets reflected in a beautiful informal manner.

Floral fashions

Floral fashions

Q. What's hot in the world of wedding flowers right now?

A. Steph Willoughby says: ❤ This year we've been seeing a rise in bright and colourful wedding flowers – coral, red and pink are all featuring heavily.

❤ Meadow weddings are really popular – create an aisle full of free standing seasonal blooms to give the impression you're walking through a meadow.

❤ With the continued popularity of all things crafty and vintage, pressed flowers are making a comeback and there are some amazing companies that will turn your wedding bouquet into a forever picture – don't forget to book early.

❤ Next year I expect to see a complete turnaround to monochromatic colour schemes and the all-white wedding is starting to look like it will return.

❤ What's new? Amazing hanging structures from floral chandeliers to platforms to hang above your top table.

❤ Industrial urban-chic weddings are also popular, and we're creating lots of florals hanging from copper pipe frames with integrated lighting.

❤ The grooms are finally getting a look in with quirky buttonholes depicting their hobbies – think Star Wars.

❤ Advice for nearlyweds – don't forget to say a BIG thank you to those that have helped along the way to your big day. Large bouquets of flowers always a great idea.

Venue checklist

Venue checklist

Q. We're poised to start our venue search. What should we check before making any final decisions?

A. Cresta Jerrard says: Choosing the perfect wedding venue is one of the most exciting parts of planning your big day, but it can be tricky to settle on the right one for you. Here are some handy tips to aid your search…

❤ Magical environment – from luxurious interiors to charming gardens, look out for a venue that offers a setting as special as your big day.

❤ Exclusively yours – a key consideration is whether a venue is exclusive use. If you don't want to share your venue with other guests or weddings make sure you check out its policy.

❤ Budget-friendly – we know how difficult it can be to get married affordably these days, so talk to your prospective venue and find out if they're prepared to work within your budget. We offer a number of packages and special deals as well as a number of flexible payment terms to help you spread the cost.

❤ Everything 'in house' – from getting ready before your ceremony right through to breakfast the next day, does your preferred venue offer you the chance to relax in the knowledge that everything will be taken care of in one place from start to finish?

❤ Help with planning – does it offer a dedicated wedding and events planner to help make your vision for your big day a reality?

❤ Flexibility – it's the biggest day of your lives, you want to make sure you have your wedding your way. If your venue offers set packages, how flexible can it be to make sure your wishes are accommodated?

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