Ask the experts

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Berks, Bucks and Oxon 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@yourberksbucksoxon.wedding

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

Hot topic: Big-day budgeting

Our local experts offer stellar advice on getting the best value for money on your big day

Snap happy

Snap happy

Q. How can we make sure our wedding photos are of a high quality without costing the earth?

A. Graham Lee says: Next to a house purchase, your wedding probably ranks as one of the biggest expenditures you will have. At such an expensive time, when everyone seems to want a slice of the cake, many couples will try to look at ways to ensure their budget goes as far as possible. Your wedding photos are your memories for life and something you'll treasure and show generations to come.

Friends or weekend photographers can be a false economy. While they may be great at landscapes, they may not have the experience of photographing a wedding under pressure to capture those one-time shots. However, getting friends involved in contributing – on social media or your own wedding website – can be invaluable. This means you can hire the professional photographer at their basic package or for less time. Don't go for an album package upfront. An album can always be added at a later date. It's more important to spend that hard-earned cash on quality photography.Is there something unusual or noteworthy about your wedding that the photographer can use to promote themselves? This could be a great way to negotiate a discount within your photographer's price wiggle room. Do find a couple of photographers you like and who offer quality work. Sometimes, value is not just about getting the cheapest prices but rather the energy and enthusiasm, coupled with what is in the package and who really wants to work with you.

Let them eat cake

Let them eat cake

Q. I'm being pressured into opting for a home-made cake, but I'm worried it won't be good enough! How do I persuade my other half that a professional cake maker is good value?

A. Victoria Carr says: When you pay for a professional cake maker, you are also paying for expertise, experience and knowledge. Although making your own wedding cake would be a beautiful touch and make the cake a lot more personal, the stress on the week of your wedding isn't worth it. Think of the late nights, and what if something went wrong – you wouldn't have time to rectify it.

Why not think of doing something in the middle? Have a dessert table at your wedding. Employ a cake maker to make your central cake – but this doesn't have to be big and extravagant. Then ask a few close friends or family to make desserts to add to the table like banoffee pie, trifle, pavlova and add your own dessert to the table – your favourite and something you have practiced. That way, you are making a dessert for your wedding and you are still getting the professional centrepiece for the photos and traditions.

That's exactly what this cake was for. Victoria's Sponges made the central cake, which the bride and groom cut at the pivotal point, but there was a whole dessert table filled with treats made by the couple's family and close friends.

Pruning back

Pruning back

Q. How can I keep down costs with our flowers yet still stay on-trend?

A. Lucy Brooker says: Flowers create a beautiful impact on any wedding day, but they can be expensive. Opting for in-season blooms will help maximise your budget, as will repurposing. Utilising flower displays and décor first for your ceremony, we can then reposition and repurpose them as centrepieces for your dining tables or place them around the venue for example, so you and your guests can continue to enjoy them for the rest of the day.

We are seeing two main trends. The first is for displays arranged in a neat, compacted and structured design. This type of styling typically uses lots of flowers (more often large, big-headed blooms such as roses, peonies and hydrangeas) with little or no greenery or foliage.The second trend is for loose, free-flowing and organically styled bouquets and centrepieces, using a mix of flowers (of all sizes) and lots of types of assorted foliage to create an arrangement full of texture that has that freshly picked and gathered together look and feel. And following the Royal Wedding last year, arches and gazebos adorned with flowers, foliage and fairylights are becoming increasingly popular. They're ideal for creating a romantic ceremony area to stand under while exchanging the all-important vows and are also a perfect backdrop to frame your top table during the wedding breakfast.

Sound check

Sound check

Q. We want a live band, but how can I make sure I get the best value for money?

A. Steven Robertson says: It's not just about the initial cost. It's also about getting the most out of whomever you do decide to book. So here are a few wedding entertainment tips when it comes to choosing live music for your big day. Speak to your venue and read the fine print in your contract with them. Depending on the venue, there may be a curfew, a sound limiter (a device to ensure noise levels don't exceed a specified decibel limit), confined performance area or even a blanket restriction on live music. It's crucial you know all of this before you come to book your band.The most popular wedding bands often fill dates up to two years in advance, especially during the peak summer months. Therefore, if you fall in love with a band, it's vital you get them booked as early as possible to avoid disappointment. If you've done your homework and hired a reputable, professional band, you can rely on them to deliver a show worthy of your wedding reception. An experienced band knows which songs work and when, gradually building an irresistible party atmosphere that'll have guests of all ages flocking to the dancefloor.

Our on-line advertisers

When it's time for you look for local businesses to help you with your wedding, take a look at our advertisements below. Most will have links to their own websites. These advertisements are updated regularly so please revisit often and mention Your Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wedding when making any enquiries.

ignature Wedding Show at Ascot Racecourse
Signature Wedding Show - Mercedes-Benz World
Alice Morgan Photography
Signature Wedding Show at Wembley Statium