The Ultimate Wedding Checklist – A Wedding Planning Guide

Do I have to invite KIDS to the wedding? And 11 other ‘no-awk-required’ answers to your tricky questions.

1 We want a no-kids policy at our wedding, but we will have to make an exception for immediate family. Will other guests with children be offended? @LoJ_via Twitter‘Many couples now decide not to include children, but it is a decision that must be handled carefully – it’s likely some guests could be ofended by your decision. Remember, it’s your day, but stick to your own rules. Aside from family and the bridal party, make no exceptions. It helps to give a reason and an age cut-of point. For example: “Due to space, we’ve decided not to invite children under eight.”’Jo Bryant, Editor, Debrett’s Wedding

2 My maid of honour has just announced that she is pregnant – what do I do? Lira Lee via Facebook‘One of my ’maids was seven months pregnant on my wedding day – it never crossed my mind that she wouldn’t be there. Even in your biggest bridezilla moment, you can’t sack her for having a baby. Talk to her – she might need to step down from her duties, although keep her involved in the hen do. When it comes to dresses, remember two words – empire line.’Reader Catherine Waugh, 31, who married in June 2011.

3 Where do you draw the line with family invites? Elizabeth Ramsdale via Facebook‘It comes down to who’s paying. My husband and I paid for my daughter’s wedding, so expected a say in which of our friends were invited. Remember, us mums have been looking forward to your big day for a long time! If you’re paying, still allocate a certain number of places to your parents.’Reader Karen Wharton, whose daughter Louise was married in September 2012

4 Do I really need to give my photographer and DJ the same meal as my guests? Sophie Bennett via Facebook ‘Yes, defnitely! Make sure that you feed the suppliers who are there all day (such as the photographer, your DJ etc) – it’s likely that they will be on site for six to eight hours. A hot main course at least would be much appreciated. Remember that happy suppliers will go above and beyond for you!’ Bruce Russell,

The Ultimate Wedding Checklist – A Wedding Planning Guide Photo Gallery

5 I’m having top table issues. Who should definitely be on it? Jo Langton via Facebook‘Traditionally, the bride, groom, their respective parents, the best man and chief bridesmaid are all on the top table. However, with some parents being divorced, separated or remarried, it can get complicated. Why not do away with it or sit the two of you at a sweetheart table?’Emma Zamani-Hawke,

6 Should the bridesmaid dresses match and can I ask my ’maids to pay for their own gowns? @vicshowe via Twitter‘Putting all your ’maids in the same dress looks very traditional, but it can be hard to fnd one style and colour that suits everyone. Why not give them a colour palette so they can choose a dress to suit their shape? and both have good solutions. It’s traditional for the bride to pay for her ’maids’ dresses, but if you can’t aford to, be fexible.’ Astrid Joss, Brides Fashion and Beauty Editor

7 What’s the etiquette on inviting co-workers? Becky Owens via Facebook‘Tis is tricky because they’ve usually been privy to all your wedding plans. If they’re good friends, invite them. However, if there is a handful you only see at work events, then send them evening-only invitations.’Jo Bryant, Editor, Debrett’s Wedding Guide

8 How do I make the table planning easier? @nursejaye via Twitter‘Start with immediate family closest to the top table, and then decide on the number of guests per table – eight to 10 people is perfect. Sit friends together, but try to mix friends and family. And never split up couples.’Bruce Russell,

9 Can we negotiate on prices with suppliers? Bella Head via Facebook‘A large chunk of your budget will go on hiring a venue, so negotiating with the owners could save you a sizeable amount. Tink about dates as this is the easiest way to get a saving. Going “of-peak” from October to March or booking on a weekday will give you good bargaining power. When it comes to other suppliers, there’s no harm in asking. Even if they’re reluctant to ofer a monetary saving, perhaps they could give you an additional extra – the photographer could ofer a canvas print, for example. Te more you purchase or book from a particular supplier, the better position you’ll be in.’Emma Zamani-Hawke,

10 How do you decide what percentage of the budget to allocate to what element of your big day? @bethboleyn via Twitter‘Do research based on what elements of the day roughly cost (Brides’ Wedding Planner in our January/February issue has a breakdown). As a guide, 40% of the budget should be spent on catering, and 10% each on your venue, entertainment, clothes, photography and fowers, with everything else from the last 10%.’Julia Dowling,

11 Can we ask for money instead of gifts? Emily Sharpe via Facebook‘Asking for money on your gif list is now commonplace, but it should be handled carefully. Guests must feel as if they are giving money towards something worthwhile. Many travel agents allow guests to put money towards a couple’s dream honeymoon, and some ofer lists of “experiences” they can buy, such as a romantic meal.’Jo Bryant, Editor, Debrett’s Wedding Guide

12 Lots of people haven’t RSVP’d yet – how can I chase them up? Ashley Metcalf via Facebook‘Despite us sending stamped RSVP cards to everyone with their invite, we still had 25 guests who hadn’t RSVP’d a month before the wedding. I’d made a spreadsheet and got our parents and some of our relatives to chase up the stragglers. Most people said: “But you know I’m coming.” Yes, but you still need to RSVP.’Reader Anita Ghosh, 28, who got married in June 2012

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