How to walk down the aisle gracefully

It's your Big Day and everyone is looking at you girl. Your wedding dress is beautiful, your hair perfect and the man of your dreams is waiting for you at the end of the aisle. But ... a key bit of advice for the bride here.

You need to be gliding down that aisle elegantly - like a Princess. It's said that the Duchess of Cambridge took deportment lessons before she walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey in London to marry Prince William, with the eyes of The World upon her. (And who can blame her?)

You don't want to walk like a pudding

Don't march down the aisle, head down, shoulders hunched, as though you're on your way to work on a dreary Monday morning in the rain.

(Check here for musical inspiration to walk down the aisle.)

What's the point of wearing a beautiful dress, gorgeous shoes and having all that preparation if you're going to ruin it with your posture?

Learn to walk tall. We asked for some tips and advice from a model who walks regularly for some top designers. She said:

  • It is hard to be elegant if you're not comfortable. Give some thought to how your dress and wedding shoes will feel - not only on the walk from the car and up the aisle, but also how you're going to manage standing, meeting and greeting your guests and the other activities your big day will demand.
  • Grace and poise will not be achieved if you are a bundle of tension! Before your hair is done, take 10 minutes in a quiet room to lie on your back with your knees bent and give yourself some space. Support your head on a couple of paperback books. Let your mind clear, and your thoughts come back to yourself. It is the last chance you will have to do this in the whole day - it is SO important!
  • Allow any tightness to dissipate from your neck, head and shoulders, and notice if you are 'pulling in' or tensing around your hip area. Be aware of your breath filling your lungs to their full capacity, and exhale freely.
  • As you step into the limelight, hold onto this calm and peace you have found. Think of your neck as free of tension, and your head elegantly and lightly poised. Be aware of length in your spine and allow your knees to move freely forward from your hips. Remember not to grip anything you are holding, but to have as light a touch as is needed, so that your arms are not bunched into your shoulders.
  • You might like to start taking a Pilates class before your wedding day. It's a good way to destress, will stretch out your limbs and also you'll become more aware of your posture, pulling in your core and standing with your shoulders back.

Photo credit: Ryan Flynn photography via The Wedding Chicks

Six things brides need to know about wedding bouquets.

wedding bouquets

The flowers in your wedding bouquet and its style are going to be a key feature on your wedding day. The blooms you carry will do much to create a mood and 'look' and the way you carry your flowers is very important, particularly if you want to show off your dress to perfection.

Wedding Bouquet Secrets

  1. When you visit your florist for your first consultation, bring a picture of your wedding dress. The structure of and design of your bridal bouquet needs to work well with the style, shape and detail of your dress.
  2. If you are having your dress made or altered, ask the dressmaker if you can have any spare material. Then your florist can wrap it around the stems of your bouquet, giving you the perfect match.
  3. If you have a family heirloom - such as an antique brooch, a lace hanky or something else to work into your Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue- ask your florist to add it into the top of the stems. Brooches in particular look fantastic and are a lovely way to finish the handle.
  4. If you're like most brides, you might feel a bit nervous just before your wedding. This nervousness means that many brides, when they are holding their bouquet for the first time, tend to use both hands and carry their bouquet quite high. This immediately lifts the shoulders up which tends not to make a great picture, particularly if you are wearing a strapless dress. If you can remember, (get your bridesmaid to remind you) hold your bouquet in one hand and below your hip. This will relax and open your shoulders, improving your posture and creating the best pose for your photographer! It will also show off the detailed bodice of your dress.
  5. If you can bear to put your bouquet down, putting it to the side of your wedding cake makes a lovely picture.
  6. At the end of your wedding day, ask your chief bridesmaid or mum to refresh your bouquet by cutting an inch off the stems and popping it into water. This works well with hand-tied bouquets and lets you enjoy your flowers that bit longer.

Image credits clockwise from top: Blue and white bouquet via Wedding Chicks, Bohemian elegance wedding via Wedding Chicks, Blooms and bouquets via Wedding Chicks, Fall wedding bouquet via Wedding Chicks, Fall and purple wedding via Wedding Chicks, Colorful Pantone wedding via Wedding Chicks, Red bouquet wedding ideas via Wedding Chicks.

12 secrets to making your guests think your wedding was the best ever!

(Photography credit TaraLynn Lawton via Wedding Chicks)

"The best ever? Of course my wedding day is going to be a fabulous success for my guests," you say.

It's all about the guests

Obviously you and your other half are the centerpiece of the day. You're the ones getting married, after all.

But remember you've asked a lot of a whole group of people

  • They may have travelled a long way
  • Taken time off work
  • Had expensive air fares
  • Invested in new clothes
  • Splashed out on accommodation
  • Bought you a lovely gift
  • Organised childcare (and pet care)

So to make sure they have a fabulous time at your wedding, it's worth remembering some (if not all) of the following tips.

  1. Don't bore your guests whilst your photographs are being taken. Although it's a special time for you, try not to leave your guests standing outside, hungry and thirsty, whilst the photographer snaps away. Have a glass of Champagne waiting for them and a few canapes.
  2. Standing around in the cold or wet for 30 minutes or so outside the church or venue (or in blazing sun), waiting for transport to the reception, isn't that much fun. It also sets a tone and not the tone you want either.
  3. Going to a wedding alone and being a bit of a Bridget Jones can be very daunting, especially if you don't know anyone and have to face constant statements like: "Don't worry, it'll be your turn next." One way around this is to have a reception the night before to make introductions.
  4. If you're not going to have a load of singles at your wedding, then it's thoughtful to offer a plus one on the invitation.
  5. On the other hand, a singles table or two could be a massive success. Singles tend not to want to sit amongst married couples. And you never know who will hit it off with whom!
  6. Send your thank-you letters out promptly. It costs quite a bit of money to be a wedding guest nowaways, what with the travel to the venue, probably an overnight stay, an outfit, the bachelorette party and of the course, the wedding gift.
  7. Don't let the speeches go on and on. You may think it's absolutely hilarious for your father to regale your guests with stories of what you did as a child and the best man to relive his experiences with the bridegroom but you may see your guests getting restive. Short, sweet and entertaining is the best way.
  8. Don't hold back on food and wine. If you're getting married at midday and the event is going on until the small hours, you're going to have to feed your guests properly. That means a drinks reception, lunch, tea and dinner and that's obviously not going to come cheap.
  9. If you're having an evening wedding and want your guests to stay over, try and consider accommodation options to suit all budgets.
  10. Think about how your guests will get to the reception, especially if you're getting married in a city centre church where there is no (or very expensive) parking nearby. A popular option is to lay on a bus from the venue to the church and then back again afterwards, so that guests can leave their cars at the reception and not have to worry.
  11. Although theme weddings are all the rage, asking your guests to dress in fancy dress is asking a lot. If you are having a color theme, then however you could ask guests to give a nod to it by dressing using a particular color on an accessory, like a tie, scarf or shoes.
  12. Having a chill-out zone is always a good plan. If you're having dancing, some people may want to catch up and chat somewhere a bit quieter. So lay tea and coffee on somewhere (with wedding cake) that's away from the dance floor.

The fine details to get sorted before your wedding day

With just days before your wedding, you'll be thinking about the big details. However, if you're super organised you won't forget the little details either - so here's our handy list to tick off.

Buying a card for your fiancé and the parents : Write a thoughtful card for your fiancé and both sets of parents which you can present at the rehearsal dinner or on your wedding day.

Wrapping and buying the gifts for your bridesmaids, your parents and fiancé Buy these well in advance, wrap and keep in a safe and secret place. Job done.

Scuffing up the soles of your shoes: GeMake sure you don't slip and slide down the aisle or on the dance floor. Scratch the soles of your shoes ahead of time. You should also walk around in your shoes indoors so that you wear your shoes in a little. That way they'll be comfortable on your big day.

Getting a manicure and pedicure: This is a great thing to do with bridesmaids a day or so before the wedding. It will be too busy on your wedding day.

Ordering food for the morning of the wedding for your bridesmaids and groomsmen: Your bridesmaids and groomsmen will want to be well fed before the wedding. A good breakfast or brunch will take care of this.

Confirming the itinerary with your bridesmaids for the wedding day: Keep on top of your bridesmaids and make sure all of their appointments for the wedding day are organised and that they know where they need to be at specific times before the wedding.

Write your wedding vows, if you are: Whether you write your vows days before the wedding or on the morning of, it's best to do this as ahead of time as possible.

Packing for your honeymoon: Before you know it, you will need to pack for your honeymoon. Make sure you have gone shopping for any clothing pieces and necessary vacation items you know you will need.

Taking care of all necessary vaccinations for your honeymoon: Make sure both you and your fiancé make necessary doctor appointments for vaccinations. Some immunisations can make you feel a little under the weather and need to be done a few weeks before you fly off. You might need to start a course of anti-malarials too.

Deciding where to take the pictures on your wedding day: Talk to your wedding photographer and scout the best locations for wedding pictures

Figuring out the transportation on the wedding day: Are you having special transportation on your wedding day like a limo or something like it? Confirm with the car service where they will pick up you, your parents, your bridesmaids and your groomsmen the day of the wedding.

Calling to confirm appointments for hair and makeup: Make sure your hair appointment and makeup appointments are confirmed for the day of your wedding.

Making sure you and your fiancé both have valid passports for your honeymoon Double check well in advance whether your passports are still valid or close to expiring and whether you need to have visas for your destination.

Image credits clockwise from top left: Dessy Facebook page, Wedding Chicks, Dessy Facebook page, NailArtsPro via Wedding Chicks

What You'll Want to Keep After the Wedding Is Over

Obviously the most precious thing you'll have acquired on your wedding day is your new spouse.

However - there are some classic items that you will want to treasure forever and keep safely - maybe to hand on to future children and grandchildren?

Here's a list of what they could be.

Keepsakes for the bride

Your Dress: Some of you may think, well obviously. But there are brides out there that may donate their dress or are the types that enjoy "trashing the dress" after the wedding. If you aren't either of these types of brides, the best thing is to take your dress to a specialist dry cleaner and have it wrapped in special tissue paper in a special box. Then if a future daughter or grandaughter wants to wear it, it will be in beautiful order.

Your Beautiful Bouquet: You will have had many photographs taken of your bouquet but you may want to keep it to look at. Investigate having it pressed into a frame or put in a shadow box. You can also dry your wedding flowers.

Bulk Wedding Decorations: If items like your centerpieces don't belong to the florist and belong to you, you will want to keep them. Any keepsake items you may have had at the actual wedding should go home with you. If you don't want to keep them after the wedding, it may be a good idea to sell them. Hello e-Bay.

Wedding Day Accents: This includes your champagne flutes, your cake cutter and topper, your shoes. While many might say these are great items to sell, these were important pieces of your wedding day, some may have even been gifted to you from a close family member. For now, we suggest that you put them carefully away in a box - maybe for a future relation to use. They could become heirlooms.

Your Invitation: After the wedding, you will want to keep at least one invitation that you can have custom framed and in your home. It is a great keepsake item to have for the rest of your life. Also remember to have one in your photograph album.

The Top Tier of Your Wedding Cake: Have the top tier of your wedding cake frozen to be taken out again on your first anniversary. Some brides also like to use it as a christening cake.

Your Wedding Vows: Whether they were written on a napkin the morning of the wedding or typed on your computer months in advance, keep your wedding vows. While your wedding video will show what you and your husband what you said on your wedding day, having the actual vows is a nice item to keep. You might want to have them set down in beautiful callligraphy.

Your Guestbook: This is a good item to have after the wedding, because months down the road you will not remember who came or didn't come to a wedding. While certain people will stand out, you won't know. Photo booth guestbooks are a good way of doing this if you're the informal type.

Photo credits - From left: You are My True, Lasting Impressions by Design

50 wedding tips you really need to know about

(Twist wrap dresses by Dessy in blush pink.)

It's always easy to be wise after the event. Think to yourself: "Oh I wish I'd known that" and "Why didn't somebody tell me."

Well to help you in the run-up to your wedding day, we asked some past brides what they thought girls should know in the run up to their wedding. Here's what they told us.

The 50 pieces of wedding advice to take note of

  1. Having a videographer. Not having a wedding video is top of the list of brides regrets
  2. Remember to wear your wedding shoes in before the big day. On carpet at home, so they're comfortable
  3. If you're wearing high heels and you're usually in flats then get practising walking in them - so you glide, not stumble
  4. Make sure the ushers know what being an usher means. That is, showing people to their seats and handing over the order of service. Not standing chatting. People milling about, not sure where to sit is not how to make your guests feel welcome and relaxed
  5. Remember that there will be a few unforeseen glitches on your wedding day. So go with the flow and don't overstress about them. (Like the weather, a guest turning up wearing white, guests being late.)
  6. Offer a chill out room for young children to watch a DVD, play and snooze during the evening reception
  7. Have somewhere comfortable and quiet for guests to sit, chat and catch up after the reception - a must if you're planning on having noisy music! And the oldies really like it.
  8. Serve plenty of soft drinks and tea and coffee after the reception. Also plenty of water on the tables - jugs of tap water are quite acceptable
  9. Prebook taxis for the oldies and have a local taxi firm on standby
  10. Practise holding your bouquet at hip level - not at waist level. Looks much better in photographs that way
  11. You don't have to wear white or ivory shoes. A bright colour or a metallic can look fabulous (and you're likely to wear those shoes over and over again)
  12. Don't wear high heels at a beach wedding. DO have a pedicure. (Maybe for the groom too.)
  13. If your wedding gown is strapless, you could cover your shoulders with a lace shrug for the ceremony and then unveil a new look for the reception and evening party
  14. Ask your bridesmaids what style of dress they feel would flatter them. And then offer them suitable choices
  15. Some bridal registry companies let guests contribute to the cost of a honeymoon
  16. Check real wedding photography to see what style suits you. It might be reportage. It might be something more traditional. Give yourself time to research different photographers in your area
  17. Marry in winter or mid-week and you'll find your budget stretches further and you have more venue options
  18. How about wearing a colored petticoat peeping out from under your wedding dress?
  19. Investigate wedding dress sample sales if you're on a tight budget - you could find the designer dress of your dreams at a cut price
  20. Flowergirls don't have to hold bouquets. Maybe just baskets of confetti?
  21. Don't have a facial just before your wedding day because you'll risk a breakout. No later than 10 days before your wedding probably best
  22. Have a singles table at your wedding reception and see what happens. Mix everyone up. Don't lump the singles with the marrieds. That is very boring for them. They want to have a bit of a party. Flirt.
  23. Save money on transport and ask a relative or friend with an amazing car if they could drive you to the church and reception.
  24. Use a wedding budget planner on your phone to help you keep track of spending
  25. Set your wedding budget first before you do anything
  26. Your best friend might not be your best chief bridesmaid. You need somebody who is super efficient and organised
  27. Marry at lunchtime and have an evening party and you're going to have to feed guests at least twice - which can be expensive. Maybe consider a late afternoon wedding instead?
  28. Consider having a mini-moon after your wedding day and a more extended honeymoon later on
  29. Show your hairdresser snaps of the neckline of your wedding dress so you can be advised on the most flattering hairstyle
  30. Choose a neckline to suit your figure - strapless, one shoulder, sweetheart ... more tips here
  31. Think about your dress fabric and the time of year. Duchesse satin in winter. Light chiffons in warmer weather
  32. Bridesmaids can get chilly with bare shoulders. Drape a colour co-ordinate pashmina around them whilst they are waiting for photographs (they make a good bridesmaid gift too).
  33. You don't have to have a formal sit down dinner. Buffet style might suit you a lot better - with free seating for the guests
  34. Let men know the dress code. Lounge suits, morning suits or black tie. It's embarassing to turn up in the wrong clothes
  35. If your venue location is perfect but you find the inside of the room uninspiring, consider room draping to turn it into something spectacular
  36. Wedding wellies are the perfect way to go if you're having to walk to and from the car on a potentially wet wedding day
  37. Don't underestimate the amount of time a DIY wedding actually takes - really, how long will it take you to handcraft 150 invitations?
  38. Buy a good quality, plain iced supermarket tier cake - and then decorate it with fresh flowers to save money.
  39. Serve substantial canapes and you could may not have to offer a starter
  40. Give each of your bridesmaids, flowergirls and pageboys a framed photograph of you all together on your wedding day
  41. Ice cream vans and a dessert table work well at summer weddings held in marquees
  42. Choose wedding flowers that are in season rather than expensive exotic blooms that have to be flown in
  43. Let your bridesgroom get involved with the wedding planning - split up the tasks between you
  44. If your mother in law wants to help, then let her. Give her some jobs that you're happy to delegate to her
  45. Remember it's your wedding day and should follow the format you want (although if you're having financial help from parents they are allowed some say in it!)
  46. Marrying abroad (in Italy) can be a much less expensive to tie the knot and it would be just as super gorgeous.
  47. Save The Dates are essential in these busy times if you want most of the invited guests to be able to attend
  48. Bridesmaids don't have to wear the same style or dress or even the same colour. Choose co-ordinating colours or go for an ombre effect
  49. If you're having a first dance together then practise. You might even want to have some lessons
  50. You are marrying your soul mate. The One. Nothing else matters really.

Ombre Bridesmaids Dresses - and other ombre wedding delights

(Photo credits from top left: All bridesmaid frocks by Dessy; Drew Brashier Photography via Wedding Chicks; Christian Siriano wedding gown via Wedding Chicks)

Can't choose a wedding color?

Love pink - but then again you love blue too. But you can't decide whether to go for a light shade or something darker.

Then think about using ombre - which is graduated colors of the same shade.

(Photo credit: Lauren Feddersen Photography via Wedding Chicks)

Ombre lets you play around with different hues

You'll know how important it is to take your individual bridesmaids' complexions into account when you're deciding on dresses.

But maybe one maid suits a light pink and the other suits something much darker. For example, some girls will suit a vibrant pink. Others a slightly subtler rose shade.

With ombre you can have the wedding color theme that you're after - as these photographs show.

And you can also choose different styles of bridesmaid dresses so that you're flattering each girl's figure to best effect.

(Photo credit: Drew Brashier Photography via Wedding Chicks)

A wall of different shades of flower

We love the way this bride above had a cascade of ombre flowers tumbling down the wall behind her. What a great photo opportunity.

And think about how the ombre theme can work through to other aspects of your big day. Your stationery. Your flowers. Your tables. You can also use it for wedding cake.

With your cake, you could opt for graduated icing. Or you could have a tiered cake with the colors going from light to dark - so the lightest on the top tier and the darkest at the bottom.

Ombre is a very adaptable way of color theming and if you'd like to see how colors work together, it's a good idea to invest in our Pantone colour fan - which will let you mix and match shades to see what works for you?

You can also get in touch with Dessy and order fabric swatches in different colors and fabrics to see how the light falls (hold the material up to your bridesmaid's face to see how it works with their coloring).

Bridesmaid dresses above by Dessy: Styles and colors: 2906 Carnation, 2908 blush, 2905 carnation, 2882 blush, 2928 blush, 6678 carnation, 2896 blush. Pantone color fan from Dessy.

A rainbow wedding theme? These photographs will make you LOVE the idea

Wondering about colors for your wedding day?

Maybe you find pastels a bit too ... well pale.

You love brights but can't decide between scarlet, emerald green, electric blue or a striking mauve.

Nature has given you the perfect color theme - a rainbow

Put together red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet and you have your colors right there.

And they work together beautifully.

There are all sorts of advantages to having using these shades.

Color choices for your bridesmaids

Not all girls suit the same color. Well, not unless you're planning on having identical twins as bridesmaids!

Depending on their complexion, some girls will suit a bright red or an orange. Particularly if they have dark hair.

A blue often looks good on blondes, as can indigo. Maids with darker complexions will look fantastic in yellows or violet.

The thing is, if you go for a rainbow theme then you can offer your bridesmaids color choices. Try different frocks on until you find a shade that looks wonderful. And of course you can do the mis-matched bridesmaid style thing too, with different necklines and waistlines - but that's a whole other story.

Just take a look at Dessy's different colored bridesmaid frocks and you'll be well on your way. You can also order fabric samples in different colors too.

And of course, you can investigate different colored shoes. Maybe put purple shoes with a red dress, yellow shoes with a blue dress ... and so on.

Blooms in every hue

The same applies to flowers. You can take your pick between red roses, blue delphiniums, lilacs, sunny yellows. Talk to your florist about what's available to you in the season in which you're marrying.

We think it would be super stylish to have each of your maids carrying a bouquet in a separate rainbow color (your florist would just love to have a project like this).

Image credits:

Top photograph from top: Shop Joielle, CW Wright Photography via Wedding Chicks , Volatile Photography via Wedding Chicks

Bottom photograph clockwise from top: Volatile Photography via Wedding Chicks, Style Me Pretty, Volatile Photography via Wedding Chicks, Volatile Photography via Wedding Chicks

9 things flower girls and pageboys wish brides knew

It's such a sweet picture and just what you want to be happening at your wedding service. A flower girl scattering petals in front of you as you walk up the aisle. A young ringbearer carrying that all important cushion.

Flower girls and pageboys sweetly holding hands throughout the service, looking adorable, listening and not making a noise at all.

Is this the reality of it all?

Well, this vision is probably due to rom coms.

Because in real life the sweet flower girl might have a fit of shyness and refuse to walk down the aisle at all, let alone scatter rose petals. And then the pageboy might start kicking her in the shins whilst you're saying your vows.

So don't overestimate how well they are going to behave and how much of a role they will be able to play in the service. Here's the inside track on what you need to know.

    1. Don't give a young flower girl too important a job and always have an understudy. If your chosen little one does come over all shy, make sure there's an older girl on standby to take over her role. And practise, practise, practise - if she's practised sprinkling petals around and posing for photographs or holding your train, she's less likely to be overcome with timidity on your big day.
    2. Think about what you're giving your young ringbearer to wear. Whilst Kate Middleton got away with knee breeches and decorative jackets for hers (as did her sister Pippa Middleton at her recent wedding), your own ringbearer might feel far too self-conscious to wear kit like that. Instead why not dress him like one of the groomsmen in tails or black tie - complete with a matching tie or cravat (or a bow tie if you prefer).
    3. Don't get them involved in the wedding photographs for too long. Try and get the images with the young attendants done first - they'll be desperate to run off and let off a bit of energy, particularly if they're on a candy sugar rush.
    4. Don't put your young attendants on the top table, even if you'd like to keep them on show a bit longer. Sort a children's table - in fact one for boys and one for girls would work best and don't mix up ages too much - 12 year olds might not enjoy being with six year olds! On the other hand teenagers will probably get on better together than on tables with the oldies! (To a teenager, anyone over 25 is really, really old by the way).
    5. A children's entertainer is worth his or her weight in gold - organise one whilst the speeches are going on.
    6. Think about the ages of the children you're asking to be flower girls and pageboys. I think that a boy over the age of 10 is a bit too old to be a pageboy - but ask him. You could always ask him to be an usher and hand out the service sheets instead. The same goes for flower girls - after a certain age a girl is definitely a bridesmaid - and you might like to put her in a dress that suits that in-between age for bridesmaids.
    7. Don't forget to give your young attendants a gift (and I think a framed photograph of you all on your big day would also be lovely). Ask the boy's parents what they think he'd like and consider giving a young flowergirl an appropriate piece of jewellery - maybe a pearl bracelet?
    8. Little children grow FAST! So don't buy their wedding outfits six months beforehand. Three months is a better idea - in fact, it's always a good plan to leave it as late as possible to allow for growth spurts!
    9. Have the flower girls and pageboys you want. It's your big day so ignore hints, pleas and demands from family and friends. You need children who will do a great job - not ones who've been foisted upon you.

A chill-out room for the youngsters is a great idea. Your young attendants will have been on show for a big part of the day and they need to relax too.

Image credit: Rebecca Yale photography via The Wedding Chicks

Wedding favors - DIY or don't DIY? What's best?

(Image credits: All via Pinterest except for Sloe Gin via Wedding Journal Online, personalised mints via Etsy).

Wedding favors are one of those little wedding extras that can cause a real headache.

  • What can you get that's different?
  • What can you get that's within your budget?
  • Are wedding favors a waste of money anyway?

Great recipe here to make gingerbread hearts.

Why are wedding favors a thing?

Wedding favors are given to guests to thank them for coming to your special day - traditionally they consisted of five sugared almonds in a gift bag (see how to DIY these inexpensively below). However, times have moved on, and many couples look for something that fits with their theme as a token for the guest to remember the wedding.

So what to do?

Well, you could go down the route of not giving them at all. Great if you are marrying abroad (baggage allowance is terrible these days!), or if your budget is extremely tight. But if you do choose to offer your guests a token of your appreciation of their attendance, there are two real routes to consider. Pre-made wedding favors or home-made.

(Image credit: Sugared almonds from Sweets Wholesale, gauze bags from Amazon, decorative tags by Hobbycraft)

DIY wedding favors

These can be really personal. Guests will know that you have taken time and effort to create your offerings and that means quite a lot. After all, anyone can just buy a little something. You can even make favors as part of a hen do these days so you don't have to do all the work yourself! Food or drink is the easy option here. Cookies are a great and inexpensive way of saying thanks. A heart-shaped cutter and little clear bags with ribbon at the top and you are away. Similarly there are many good chocolate moulds available. Little bags of sweets are easy to do. You could provide little boxes and encourage guests to fill with a mini cake of their choice (perhaps instead of one large wedding cake), or with sweets from a candy bar.

Homemade jam always sits well, as do little jars of hot chocolate mix (complete with mini marshmallows!). If you would rather the favor made it past the end of the night, a little keepsake such as candles, bath products or a personalised bauble at Christmas time are all lovely ideas.

We also like the idea of giving every guest a little pot of daffodils or narcissi when they are in season (which will also decorate your tables).

Is your wedding glamorous or luxe?

Then forget DIY. Unless you are a professional confectioner or baker; or unless you are a crafter and make things for a living, chances are you won't have the time or skills to create something you will be truly happy with. Time to splash the cash.

Buying favors

These may seem like the easy option, but while they don't take as long to organise and don't require you to have shares in your nearest craft/baking store, they do require a little more brain power. It is very easy to go on-line or into a shop and purchase any old thing that fits your price range. However, if you want your guests to actually take the gifts home (and use them), you need to be a little more selective.

If you are marrying in a vineyard, or if one of you is Scottish for example, a little bottle of local wine or whisky can be a lovely, thoughtful gift.

So what is better? DIY or shop bought?

That depends. Your time is precious. If you have enough of it and fancy giving it a go, then DIY is lovely, especially if you are looking at a vintage or rustic wedding. If you have only a little time, then why not mix the two and give a gift that is part bought, part made such as a little picture frame with an image of your friend inside.