Posts Categorized: Planning Advice


Posted by & filed under Aisle Style, Planning Advice.

I’m sat here, sweltering with a brain that’s not great at functioning in a top floor flat that must be close to 36 degrees with a giant iMac radiating explosive heat. It’s not pleasant, cold showers and ice cream are my only saviours right now and don’t even get me started about trekking across London for meetings on public transport with people who are clueless about that thing called deodorant. Not pretty.

So I thought i’d jump on this whilst it was fresh [or not so, actually!] with me and give you some of my tips for handling hot weather weddings. Now rather than just providing you with pretty pictures of ice lollies, cute DIY fan ideas and refreshing cocktails I thought it may just be more useful to impart my wisdom as a wedding planner with practical information on having a wedding in the heat rather than just pretty inspiration [although there is a bit of this, as of course, I love that too!].

Chances are, if you are getting married in the UK, planning for a ‘warm’ wedding is somewhat rare and probably quite far from your mind for most of the planning stages. Therefore it may be only in the last week or two that you see that 10 day forecast that you’ve been glued to and have a small freak out that it won’t in fact be rain that you have to worry about, but the unexpected visit from glorious sunshine instead!

Having just done my fair share these past few weeks of weddings in this heat I wanted to give you a few quick and easy tips to think about that can be managed in the last few weeks in the lead up to the big day. Of course if you have a wedding planner or on the day co-ordinator they can help you with these things so you don’t have to [had to get that in there didn't I?!].



If you have invited children, if it’s a venue with outdoor space, hire or buy a gazebo that can be popped up to provide some much needed shade for the bubbas [and the mummas!]. Try Argos or Amazon, it will be £40 well spent and you can decorate them if you so wish with bunting etc and after the wedding, it’ll be great for BBQ’s!


Buy some small bottles of factor 30-50 suncream from a chemist and just pop them in a basket in the ladies and gents. You really don’t want lobster red guests in your photos and while some may have sensibly applied cream in the morning, it may not fit in their oh so beautiful clutch bag and as the day goes on and they sweat, chances are this will be much needed if you have a lot of outdoor action. Same goes for insect repellant spray!


For your appearance, speak to your make up artist about how to keep your flawless look throughout the heat. Make up artist Lucy Baker advises that sunscreen is very particular to each bride, so it will depend on your skintone which to go for and they do vary as some won’t be great for on-camera either! Lucy advises to stick to a powder with an SPF rather than with the base for less ‘flashback’ on camera [definitely don't want a ghost-like appearance!]. Blotting papers are also a good thing to keep in the handbag [in all weathers in fact!] to keep shine at bay, a favourite of my own which I have in my emergency kit is the blotting sheets [which don't have powder on] by Bobbi Brown.


Think about the cake! The poor poor cake. The delicious delight can really suffer in this heat, so think about where it can be stored chilled – especially if it’s tall you’ll need either a big fridge or a chill room of some sorts. I wouldn’t advise bringing it out early for show unless it’s in a very well air conditioned area or will get eaten quite quickly. Also be aware if it is cream based as this will definitely need to be stored chilled before serving. Again, do check with your cake maker for their expert advice!


Food wise, you may have thought warm dishes such as Beef Wellington were going to be a good idea but speak to your caterers and see if you can offer salad instead of vegetables with it. Or perhaps get ice cream as an addition to go with your dessert. Your guests eating habits will change in the heat and heavy hearty food may not get touched. You’ll need to do this a few days in advance though to ensure they can order in the right quantities of food.


Whatever you do, ask your caterer to triple the ice order!


Water, you need lots of it. Whilst that may sound obvious, rather than waiting for your guests to ask for a glass of water at the bar, ask your bar staff to have some ice cold jugs with cucumber and mint at the bar or on tables constantly topped up for guests to help themselves. Alcohol really dehydrates so you’ll be amazed how much water guests will actually choose to drink to stay hydrated throughout the day and into the evening and if it’s there, for those that are a little less sensible, they’ll be inclined to top up with H20 too if it’s right there.

Think of before the reception, it can get warm in churches or civil ceremony rooms too, or if there’s a long route on a bus, bulk buy mini bottles of water for your ushers to hand out to guests or consider tray service of ice cold orange juice or sparkling water before the ceremony, I wouldn’t advise alcohol at this point!


Jazz up a glass of Prosecco by popping in some frozen raspberries or strawberries. It’s a simple easy thing to do for whoever is looking after the bar and will ensure the bubbles stay nice and chilled for the toast or during the reception.

Another cocktail idea is a little teaspoon of sorbet such as lemon into the bubbles. It’s so refreshing and pretty straightforward for the staff to accommodate.


Hire in floor fans, OK so they may not have been included in your budget and they aren’t the prettiest or smallest of items, but believe me when you are rocking the dancefloor for your first dance, you will want to act like Beyonce in a music video with your own personal fan. They will only circulate air but in rooms that don’t have ventilation or air conditioning it’s a welcome relief. Trust me [and it's fun to watch guests behave like Marilyn Monroe!]. You can also tie lace or coloured ribbon to them for fun factor!


Whilst I would always condone trying to keep your budget sensible, if you have a heavily lined or embellished dress or one with long sleeves, you may feel much more comfortable with a second option for switching into the evening. I know it wasn’t in the plan, but a cute white shift dress, or prom style dress could be a saving grace and hey, who doesn’t want a second dress? Hit the high street such as Monsoon, Phase Eight or try online Kitty & Dulcie who have some super cute and good value short wedding dresses or search vintage shops for a pretty ivory/white dress.


Be prepared to be flexible with your timings. You may decide it’s just too hot outdoors for a long drinks reception, or that you need some break out time after dinner for guests to get some fresh air. Keep in touch with your wedding co-ordinator (or venue manager!) depending on how your guests are feeling after all you want happy guests!


Whilst we all shout ‘hurrah, it’s sunny’ – photographer’s often sigh as bright sunshine isn’t actually that great to shoot in. It inevitbly makes guests squint, it causes harsh light on subjects and it’s generally harder to shoot into as it causes strong shadows. Trust your photographer on what they advise for your portrait photos and where to have them. You may be surprised that they choose something a bit shadier rather than that beautiful open field you had in mind! You will also want to keep them as short as possible so it’s worth again being flexible and doing a few quick shots and family portraits after the ceremony and then to go back out after dinner [for 'golden' hour light] romantic portraits which is a great opportunity and still means you get quality time for photographs.

Hope that’s helped a little for those about to get married this week – always good to have a plan B and hopefully the above are useful and stress free tips on how to handle the hot weather! If you have any top tips of how to stay cool, do share them!

Photo Credits Clockwise From Top Left: Katie Gardner Photography via Style Me Pretty / Mel Wilde Photography / Portraits by Lucinda via Elizabeth Anne Designs / Polly Alexandre Photography via Rock N’ Roll Bride / Gabrielle Kai via Patchwork Harmony / I go by Katie


What’s In A Name – Changing Your Name After Marriage

Posted by & filed under Planning Advice.

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Image / CreativeButterflyxox on Etsy

I had an innocent question that I took to twitter the other day “can you still be a ‘Miss’ after you are married” which sparked some fascinating opinions and interesting responses! So I thought I’d continue it on here and also provide a bit of help to those thinking about their new name and title once they are married after their wedding, how to go about changing it and what options you have.

Times have changed and there are a number of options available to women [and their husbands!] now and the best thing is, it’s entirely up to you! Now I may be a wedding planner but I’m certainly no expert in the name changing field so the UK Deed Poll have kindly provided some very helpful answers to some questions that you [and I!] had…

Q – What do you need to do if you decide to take your husbands name?
This is the most popular scenario and you can use your marriage certificate as proof of a name change to get all your records updated.

Q – Once married do you have to change your title to ‘Mrs’ when taking your husbands name?
No, whilst it is standard practice to change your title to ‘Mrs’ when taking your husbands surname you are under no obligation to do so. If you wish to keep your current title it is a good idea to make a mention of this when getting your records updated, as it will often be assumed that you now wish to be addressed as ‘Mrs’. [Editors Note: It seems a popular choice is to take the title 'Ms' which doesn't dictate your marital status.]

Q – Can you keep your maiden name for work purposes but use your married name for more official documentation such as banking, passport etc?
This is possible and is a popular choice for women who have built up a good professional reputation under their maiden name.

Q – If you keep your maiden name do you have to notify anyone?
If you keep your maiden name you will not need to update your records unless you wish to change your title in which case you can notify the relevant bodies of this.

Q – If you choose to keep your maiden name entirely, what title should you take and do you have to change it legally?
If you wish to keep your maiden name entirely you are free to either keep your existing title or to change it. If you wish to change it there is no formal process required and you can simply write a letter to record keepers asking them to modify your title.

Q – What happens if you and your husband both want to take the same surname?
If you and your husband both wish to take the same new surname the easiest option is to use a deed poll.  A deed poll is a legal document that acts as proof of name change. The process is straightforward and a deed poll application can be made online.

Q – What title can you have if you are married but use your name?
You can have whichever title you prefer. It is entirely your choice as to whether you choose to use Mrs., Miss, or Ms.

 Q – Can you use your maiden name as your middle name and take your husbands surname? How do you change this?
This has become an increasingly popular option as women choose to keep up the tradition of taking their husbands surname but also maintain a link to their family name. In order to do this a deed poll is required which can be applied for online.

Q – Does your title and name have to be the same in all your documentation, such as passports, driving license, bank statements?
Your name should be the same on all of your documentation. Practically this isn’t possible as you will have to get your records updated one by one but you should aim to do this as quickly as possible so there are no lasting discrepancies between documents.

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Image / TrueConnection via Etsy

I also thought I’d provide a few different experiences from recently married women and which titles and names they decided to take. I’ve obviously briefly thought about my own name after I’ll be married and for me personally I’ve always enjoyed being a ‘Miss’. I’m not sure why, I think for me it represents being young and with a masculine sounding name, I think I’ve always like the femininity it gives me! So I’ll be sad to see it go!

Emma Gibbs / Author of The Honeymoon Project Blog

“I had been using Ms as my title for quite a few years by the time we got married – mainly because I felt frustrated by the fact the women’s titles traditionally give away their marital status. When we got married and I decided to keep my surname, it was the logical thing to keep using Ms. This was largely for the same reason; in addition, Miss definitely came with unmarried connotations and so was obviously not “right”, but being Mrs Gibbs when my husband was Mr Woodcock also seemed wrong – almost like we were married to different people and having an illicit affair…”

Caroline /Author of Patchwork Harmony

“We are not particularly traditional generally and our wedding will not follow a traditional formula. But there are certain little things that I guess we feel are nice to do, and changing my name is one of them.  Marriage is about commitment and sharing, and I see sharing our name as one way to show our commitment to one another.  I don’t see it as something that will change me, certainly not in a bad way anyway, and it is also about carrying on the name and becoming a family.”

Emily Quinton / Photographer and Author of The Startup Wife

“I have been using Ms rather than Miss ever since I left university about 14 years ago. This decision was definitely influenced by both my parents [a strong feminist mother and a father very keen to make sure his two daughters felt empowered as women]. Men are a Mr whether they are married or not but women are defined by their marital status. In asking is it Miss or Mrs, you are basically asking, so are you married or not?

When I got married last year I kept my name and I swing between still using Ms Quinton and using Mrs Quinton. Mrs Quinton gives me a feeling of being grown-up! And it sometimes stops people patronising me. I look younger than I am, which can sometimes be frustrating, so throwing a Mrs Quinton into the mix makes me feel a bit better. Really silly I know and not very true to my feminist roots but I have at least kept my name!”

Caro Hutchings / Photographer

”I like the idea of being a Miss partly because I just don’t want to admit that I am getting old but I do think that if I am using my maiden name then it should be with miss and my married name should be with Mrs… I like being married but don’t feel I need to announce it to the world sometimes. Professionally I am still a Miss and personally I am most definitely a Mrs – it feels nice to keep a bit of the old me somewhere.”

I’d love to know your thoughts, and what you might do or have done. It’s a really interesting topic and with so many options it’s great to hear from others about why and how they changed their names.

Emma / Bride to be

“My name is Emma Goddard and when I get married in August, I will be taking my husbands full surname to become Emma Cardinal-Richards. I know some women might have the feeling of losing their identity but I’ve always had a romantic notion of taking my husband’s name as a ‘belonging with’, not ‘owned by’ him. To me it’s the start of a new family, a new stage of life and it’s exciting to mark that with a change of name….. Plus he’s got a great name!”

So – as you can see there are many different options available and there is no ‘right’ way – each to their own. I’d love to hear what you did or will be doing with your name…!