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Ask the experts

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Cheshire & Merseyside 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@yourcheshiremerseyside.wedding

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

Hot topic: Autumn Weddings

Our experts offer steller advice on planning your dream autumnal wedding

Planning panic

Planning panic

Q. I'm starting to feel overwhelmed with organising our wedding and could use a hand, but I'm concerned about relinquishing control. What's the process when it comes to working with a professional wedding planner?

A. Jennifer Holdway says: You might have watched Father of the Bride and envisage an extravagant wedding planner taking over, running around with a clip board and head set and doubling or tripling the wedding budget. That's not the case. It's your special day, so it's easy to see how your £5,000 budget, can turn into a £50,000 wedding. It's our job, however, to get you the best price and make sure you stay on, or under, budget.

Wedding planners take pride in doing thorough research to find the best location, suppliers and prices. We narrow down your choices to two or three suppliers based on your vision, theme, needs and budget. You will, however, retain complete control, as it will then be your choice which suppliers provide a quote.

Your wedding planner will accompany you to consultations if needed or go on your behalf if you're unable to go. We'll work with you to reduce stress and ensure your day is exactly how you want.

Baby you're a firework

Baby you're a firework

Q. What are the best blooms to feature in my autumn bouquet and centrepieces?

A. Gemma Wakerley says: Autumn is firework season, so a great way to mirror this is with rich vibrant colours in your wedding bouquet. Adding architectural elements such as seed heads and grasses reminiscent of the season can give your bouquet a showstopping look.

Whether you prefer the rich tones of magenta, purple, orange, burgundy and red or a more delicate approach, there is something for every autumn bride. Calla lily, gerbera, sunflower, dahlia, rose, hypericum and aster all spring to mind.

Thank you for the music

Thank you for the music

Q. We don't want to rush our couple shots but are worried about our guests becoming restless at the drinks reception while they wait for us. What can you suggest?

A. Andrea Lamballe says: I've been playing the piano at weddings for many years and I've seen first-hand how music has a positive effect on people. Having a live pianist at your drinks reception creates a beautiful ambience while the guests are sipping champagne and nibbling on canapes - it creates a focus. They love making requests, which become a talking point and make time pass quicker while they wait for their meal. So, you can relax knowing that your guests are well looked after and not getting restless in the slightest!

There's also the option to continue the music through to your wedding breakfast and as something special to add to your ceremony.

Venue checklist

Venue checklist

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

A. Alison Lockhart says: Choosing the location for the biggest day of your life is an important decision and one that often requires a lot of thought and detailed research. Before finalising any contracts the venue's dedicated events team should take the time to get to know you so that they can create a tailored day to suit you. To get the most out of this meeting there are a number of points you should carefully consider...

❤ How many guests would you like to attend the celebrations?
❤ Do you have confidence in your event organisers to handle everything in the lead up to the day, so that the process becomes as enjoyable and stress-free as possible?
❤ Is there a package to suit your all-important budget? Is there a staggered payment system to help you manage it?
❤ What facilities are offered? For example, is there a honeymoon suite and accommodation for your out of town guests, a wedding rehearsal dinner the evening before, hair and make-up studios for getting ready in the morning or even a spa in which to unwind following the wedding?

Join the hue

Join the hue

Q. How can I tie in my autumnal wedding theme across all of my stationery?

A. Ling Warlow says: Your wedding's stationery is the perfect place to bring everything together. You may have chosen certain hues for your flowers, table settings or in your bridesmaids' dresses that can be picked out in your stationery through little hand finished touches such as ribbon. It's a simple way to coordinate everything.

I'm also creating a lot of stationery at the moment where the colour comes from images. There are plenty of pretty watercolours of autumn leaves or floral arrangements online making another a great way of bringing a seasonal theme together.

I do like to combine different methods so I'd include a couple of different colour boards, for example a nice recycled Kraft board and a little burnt orange and ivory. The print design can pick out both and adding a little foil, especially that perennial favourite rose gold, is gorgeous for an autumnal theme.

Once the invitation design is right I then pick out individual leaves and blooms and cut them out to use in the seating plan, perhaps even as decorative items to scatter on the tables.

Stationery is the perfect place to let your imagination run riot! If you feel as though there's too much going on, just pare it back and focus on the palette.

All boxed up

All boxed up

Q. We want to say thank you to our bridesmaids with something that will remind them of the big day. What can you suggest?

A. Chloe Gabbitas-Powls says: For a thoughtful gift to say thank you to your bridal party, we'd recommend a personalised gift box. Hand pick the items you'd like to fill the box with, whether it be the natural skin care products we have at Soak Box or contemporary living items. Stick with products that are natural, vegan, organic and cruelty free and suitable for any skin type to bring a smile to everyone's faces. You could even include a candle fragranced with your big day's signature scent.

It's also great to personalise your box with a message of thanks for your bride tribe and tie in a ribbon of their favourite hue or even your wedding's colour palette.