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: Wedding planning

Our experts offer stellar wedding-planning advice

Foliage and foraging

Foliage and foraging

Q. Our wedding will be a relaxed affair. How can we make our venue flowers less formal to reflect the chilled-out vibe?

A. Rachel Peers says: If you're getting married in 2020, you're in luck! The trend for bringing the outdoors in is set to continue this year and well beyond. Think foliage, think texture, think garlands and an abundance of scented draping eucalyptus.

Speak to your wedding florist about creating a relaxed and natural feel by using a range of foliage in your bouquets, ceremony room and reception room. You need your bouquet to look as though your florist wandered through an English meadow, foraging for blooms. You can then follow this style through to the venue with foliage garlands, ceiling installations and centrepiece wreaths, with a range of candles.

Love is in the air

Love is in the air

Q. How can we create a romantic and intimate atmosphere for our ceremony?

A. Fay Wert says: Firstly, set the scene. For a good 20 minutes before the ceremony, entertain your guests with live atmospheric music of your choice, whether it's popular, classical or just your favourite tunes. This will immediately enable those close to you feel involved. Alternate the more gentle tunes with other more lively ones so that there's a contrast, but ensure the bride's entrance is a slow number. Winter weddings in particular, have an ambience of their own if you're clever with your lighting. Whatever the season, keep your colour scheme simple, and coordinated, to create unity, and flow. Flowers, décor, lighting, as well as music, are all key to your special day's tone and success.

RSVP

RSVP

Q. What would a full wedding stationery package involve and what timescales should we be working to?

A. Ling Warlow says: Wedding stationery is a very personal thing and is as complicated or simple as you make it. Although, it probably shouldn't be too taxing! Most important is to think about the information your guests need to know: where and when, local accommodation, a note about gifts, and so on. There are all sorts of additional details you can include too such as menus, a timeline, RSVP card, maps, and song requests. It's always advisable to order a few additional invitations just in case you need to send out a second wave, or you find you've missed someone out.

Save-the-date cards are growing in popularity. They're particularly useful for weekday weddings, bank holidays, or peak vacation periods. You should opt to send these out a year ahead, followed by the invitations three to four months before the wedding.

The next steps are: stationery for your ceremony, the wedding breakfast, and to say “thank you.” For a church wedding, an order of service is a must – either one per guest, or one per couple. Then we come to the wedding breakfast. You'll need a seating plan and place cards, plus signs to help guests find their tables. You may also choose to have menus, a guest book and further signage. If your guests have pre-ordered their menu choices, it's a good idea to remind them of what they have chosen, either by providing menus, or putting their choices on the back of the place cards. Finally, there's the “thank you” cards. If you'd like them to match, consider ordering along with your other items.

Do give yourself enough time to get things right. A professional designer will need two to three months notice. Be sure to ask for samples of card stocks to manage expectations, and proof read everything before printing. Twice!

Vegan spice

Vegan spice

Q. We want to serve a vegan wedding breakfast, packed with flavour, that all of our guests can enjoy. What would you suggest?

A. Candice Fonseca says: These days us Brits have wide and varied tastes so don't worry too much about how your guests will react to a bit of spice and some heat in your vegan wedding meal.

It's best to take inspiration from the cultures that do vegan food well, such as the Indian subcontinent – the Middle East and Far East for example. To keep everyone happy, I'd avoid going for anything too hot in terms of chilli heat, and instead go for dishes that balance spice with sweetness such as tagines or coconut-based curries.

Traditionally, a wedding breakfast is individually plated with key elements, and if you want to stick to this approach then a star vegetable should take centre stage, for example red peppers stuffed with jewelled couscous works well, or a griddled cauliflower steak dressed with pomegranate, pine nuts and tahini. However, this approach has a couple of potential pitfalls. Some of your less adventurous guests may not like it, and secondly, if the schedule on the day slips even slightly keeping the crunch in the vegetables can become difficult for the kitchen team.

I personally think that serving a wedding breakfast family style on the table in serving bowls is perfect for a vegan feast. It gives you a wider variety of dishes and flavour profiles, and will mean that everyone will find something they like. Ordinarily, serving this way is more costly than plated, simply due to the increased volume of food required, but the fact that there's no expensive protein element does mean you won't be breaking the bank. Think about the flavours you like or dishes that have significance to you and your new spouse, and start from there.

Sit down and chat with the chef, and from there they'll be able to come up with a menu inspired by you, and more to the point, something that's deliverable. Finally, always insist on a tasting – understanding spice is a real skill and you need to be on the same page in terms of expectations!