This series is designed to share some exclusive advice and tips with you from past brides.
There are always going to be those little things that might get overlooked, and with so many different ideas from different people you might begin to get that overwhelmed feeling.
We don’t want you to feel that way.
We want you to wake up on your wedding day feeling excited and anticipating the day ahead.
This series isn’t designed to cover absolutely everything, but even if you take one piece of advice away with you it could make all the difference to your day.
Nichola Denham and her husband Matthew’s winter wedding was set within the stunning Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire.
If you could pick one, what is your absolute favourite memory of your wedding day?
There are so many to choose from, but if I had to pick a few they would include getting ready with my bridesmaids, walking down the aisle and seeing Matt at the altar, signing the register and having our first moment alone, and our first dance!
Where did you get your wedding dress from?
The Bridal Boutique in Haslemere, Surrey.
What was your style inspiration for your wedding dress?
I was looking for something that had lace detailing and I’d always wanted to wear a long train on my wedding day, so these were both things that I looked out for when I was selecting my dress.
Do you have any advice for a bride when selecting her wedding dress?
Try everything! You never end up with the dress you think you will go for so don’t rule any shapes out! Try them all!
What style of Bridesmaids Dresses did you have?
My Bridesmaids wore full length strapless dresses in a blush colour made of chiffon which was lovely and floaty.
Do you have any advice for a bride when selecting her bridesmaids dresses?
Choose the ones you like best, it can be overwhelming with five girls saying different things! You can be easily persuaded but often the bride is paying so after all it’s your choice! Alterations can get expensive, so plan for this when choosing the dresses as the end bill could be a lot higher than the dress.
The Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed & Something Blue.
What was your something old and why was it special to you?
A diamond ring that my Great Grandma used to wear which my Mum had split in two – one for her and one for me.
What was your Something New and why was it special to you?
Everything was new! The dress, jewellery, underwear, shoes! I guess it would have been the diamond necklace Matt bought me, which my brother forgot to give me the morning of the wedding! But I received it halfway through the day!
What was your Something Borrowed and why was it special to you?
My Mum’s bracelet.
What was your Something Blue and why was it special to you?
The blue ribbons in my garter and on my lucky sixpence clip from the bridesmaids.
The Hair & Makeup.
How did you go about finding the right hair stylist & makeup artist for you?
I had a recommendation from my Sister-in-Law and then I had a hair and makeup trial on the day of my hen do.
What was your style inspiration for your Hair & Makeup?
I got a lot of ideas from Pinterest! I was inspired by classic bridal looks, so I went for curls in my hair with some pinned back with flowers. Although I love the beautiful up dos, someone said to make sure that you like your wedding photos and I never like photos with my hair up so I played it safe – just in case!
What would your Go-To Beauty Secret be? Do you have any tips on how to prepare your skin for your big day, or did you use any products that you relied on on the day?
I researched good skin foods as I am prone to blemishes, and I ate them daily in the lead up – almonds, tomatoes…can’t remember them all now! I also bought some new face creams for morning and night…Lancôme is my go to!
What style of shoes did you wear?
This was a nightmare for me as I tried hundreds and couldn’t find any I loved! I ended up changing at the last minute from a pair that I loved but that were not that comfortable – as someone advised me that they had to be comfy and I didn’t believe this for the whole build up until the last minute – so true, nobody even saw my shoes after the weeks spent agonising over them! And comfort was the most important thing as you don’t want it to ruin your day. Also a useful tip – be careful not to change from heels into flats as this may affect the way your dress looks – mine was made to measure in length so I couldn’t change into flats at the end of the day as the dress wouldn’t sit at the right length – just touching the ground.
Do you have any secrets to being able to stay on your feet all day long?
Not really as adrenaline gets you through!
How did you go about finding your perfect venue?
We did lots of research online mainly focusing on Sussex and the surrounding counties because our families are based there. Venues don’t give much away on their websites as they like to impress you when you are there, so we tried to visit as many in person as possible.
What made you choose Notley Abbey?
I wanted a long drive, a stunning property with an equally nice dinning room for the wedding breakfast as well as the reception rooms, and also one near a church that we could get married at. I also wanted a venue that close family could stay over at so we could have breakfast together the next morning. Also the fact that we could hire the whole place exclusively…you don’t want to see any strangers on your big day! The service was impressive from the moment we walked through the door, we felt amazing – smart butlers and champagne on arrival – the service stood out by far so it was a huge deciding factor for me!
What tips would you give to a bride when choosing her Wedding Venue?
Visit a good few to compare – often the websites don’t do them justice! Check that they can hold your number of guests for dinning before visiting as this is obviously key – and also worth checking whether you would have the whole venue to yourself as this was a deal breaker for me!
What floral elements did you have?
Winter trees with blush and white flowers. We had lots of flowers dotted throughout the venue and we had a lovely arch leading to the outside areas.
The Photography & Videography.
How did you find your photographer/videographer?
Online. We went via the photographers/videographers websites then met with them and confirmed. We also met some at wedding fairs previously. I wasn’t too worried about a video, but it was actually the best bit and so important to have as it captures the atmosphere of the day so much better – and you can see all the bits you were not there for – like your guests arriving at the church and the groom waiting for you!
What advice would you give to a bride when selecting a photographer/videographer?
We had a drone for the video which was really very special and captured the beautiful crisp cold sunny winter day! It was perfect – the drone flew above the church and got an aerial view of me walking in – so special!
The Table Plan.
How did you go about assigning your seating arrangements?
We cut out all of the names and worked on the floor for a long time, tried to put families and friends together – closest family nearest the bride and groom etc.
Did you have a particular theme for your table names?
Yes all of our first destinations – first meeting ‘Billingshurst Tennis Club’, first holiday, first kiss etc.
What tips would you give to a Bride-to-Be when creating their table plan?
You can’t please everyone! And on the day it doesn’t matter…everyone gets on in the end!
The Favours & Gifts.
If you gave favours what were they and why?
Tennis ball cake pops with ‘love, set, match’ labels as we met playing tennis!
What gifts did you give to your bridesmaids, ushers, mother-of-the-bride etc.?
We gave photo frames to the mothers, cufflinks to the ushers, and jewellery (on the morning of wedding), bracelets, photo frames, and soft toys (for the little ones) to the bridesmaids.
Did you have a DJ or a Band?
We had a band during the reception and a piano player during the wedding breakfast. One of my bridesmaids Alex also played with her string quartet in the church ceremony and the drinks reception which was so special.
How did you go about researching & selecting your band?
We listened to them online then went to meet them.
Did you choose a particular genre or style of music?
Everything – we had a rough playlist with some of our own selections.
Did you have any other guest entertainment?
We had a magician at the wedding breakfast who was amazing!
What song did you choose for your processional music and why?
Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D’ with my bridesmaid Alex playing her violin as we walked down the aisle – so emotional!
What song did you choose for your first dance and why?
Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ – it was played to us on the beach in Thailand the night we got engaged and is also a personal favourite.
Where did you go on your honeymoon and why?
If you could give one piece of advice to a bride looking back what would it be?
Enjoy the planning and don’t get too stressed, don’t listen to everyone’s opinions – it’s your day so go with what you want – you simply cannot please everyone so don’t even try as it will all work on the day and what seems important now won’t be on the day!