EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about venues

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

Summer Scorchers

Summer Scorchers

Q What is your advice on planning an outdoor wedding?
A Samantha Gilchrist says: With the summer wedding season in full swing and the English weather as unpredictable as ever, you may get more than you bargained for when it comes to wishing for a sunny day for your al fresco nuptials.

Don't compromise your photographic backdrop for finding shade. Your wedding venue is the backdrop to your day and it's important that it's not lost in your photography when avoiding squinting eyes. Work with your venue and photographer in advance to discuss where you'll take your couple shots and allow for early evening photographs in the iconic areas of your venue that might be too bright for the day. Ensure you have someone on hand to bring you water and canapés during your photo session and to top you up with suntan lotion, which can often get forgotten. Nobody wants a sunstroke headache on their wedding day!

As you'd make the decision to move your ceremony indoors if it rains, don't feel pressured to stay outside if the sun becomes too hot. Consider your dress or suit and whether you'll be too hot to enjoy the moment. If you're intent on staying outside, maybe ditch the suit jackets and instead opt for braces or waistcoats that buttonholes can be pinned to. Think too about your guests. Will some be older and struggle with the temperatures? Work with your venue to understand if the area you've chosen is shaded or exposed to the sun. Otherwise, make the most of your venue's inside space and move things to shelter so you can keep your cool at the altar.

If you're worried about guests struggling with the heat while enjoying your venue's grounds, incorporating some cooling wedding favours can help them deal with the soaring temperatures. My favourites include paper fans, sun cream, flavoured water dispensers, cooling mist stations, or even offer ice cream or ice lollies.

Don't for get to take time out to refresh. Whether it's packing a few extra shirts, arming your chief bridesmaid with powder for keeping the shine away or popping some refreshing towels and sprays into the venue's toilets, all this can encourage that moment to refresh allowing your guests to feel their best.

Samantha Gilchrist, The Ravenswood

Where to begin?

Where to begin?

Q We're just starting out on our big-day journey and neither of us have a clue what we should look for when booking a venue. Can you help?
A Laura Pauley says: There's so much choice when it comes to choosing a wedding venue, but there are several questions you can answer to assist in narrowing down your choices. Firstly, what's your budget? Secondly, what's your vision of your special day? Is it traditional, such as a heritage hotel or modern and unique like the British Airways i360 viewing pod? Perhaps it's a natural setting, such as a barn or garden.

Next, think about how many guests you'll invite. This will help you to decide what size the space needs to be. Wedding venues will be able to advise you how many people they can accommodate and offer ideas for the best layout and realistically how easy it is to transform it to suit your vision.

Finally, what time of year do you wish to marry? Indoor venues will suit you best for a winter wedding, but for spring or summer nuptials somewhere that has a large outdoor area with indoor rooms would be worth a look. For example, BA i360 has large beachfront terraces combined with indoor rooms boasting sea views giving the best of both.

Laura Pauley, British Airways i360

In the country

In the country

Q We're pretty open minded when it comes to the type of venue we choose for our big day. What are the benefits of barn venues in particular?
A Helen Trigg says: Barns instantly have the wow factor even before you step into them. They offer a welcoming feel particularly when they're older original structures, which ooze a sense of history, character and beauty. Brick and flint, exposed beams, period features... what more could you wish for? Barns offer a real natural and raw beauty that you can't find in other types of venues, exuding a wonderful character and a sense of space and calm. Being among nature surrounded by trees naturally makes everyone feel instantly relaxed. Flexible and large open spaces are always a big hit too.

Cissbury Barns for example gives you the whole package – a stunning estate and countryside setting hidden in the South Downs that's exclusive to you.

Helen Trigg, Cissbury House and Barns

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