Expert advice about wedding planning

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




Q. We really what some innovative wedding themes for our upcoming nuptials; what do you suggest?

A. Abi d'Aulerio says: - Veganism – Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of spirits which are vegan. You need to watch out though, as some drink processes can include filtration with animal products? Depending on the level of veganism, you also need to watch out for the glue on the labels – this can be an animal by product! We are attending a few vegan events in 2020 including Basingstoke's Vegan Food Fest which is an exciting new adventure for us and cant wait to be apart of the vegan community!

- Non alcoholic beer – As people are looking for a healthier sustainable lifestyle, non alcoholic beer is becoming more and more popular. We attended the International Drinks Expo in London in 2019 and tried non alcoholic Effes which tastes exactly like the alcoholic version (minus the hang over)! Spending time in Munich this Christmas, there were 100s of non alcoholic beers in the supermarkets, which I'm sure is going to make its way over to the UK this year!

- Colour – A key wedding colour trend for 2020 is blue and our beautiful horsebox bar fits perfectly within the theme. With an oak wood finish and copper fittings, it's the perfect addition to any DIY wedding for 2020.

Abi d'Aulerio


Express yourself

Express yourself

Q. We don't have a formal dress code for our big day – what advice can we offer any guests unsure about what to wear?

A. Nicola Whybrow says: Nicola says: The English weather doesn't exactly make it easy to decide what to wear to a wedding. Add to that the pressure of looking chic, yet comfortable with potentially many hours on your feet, and wedding guests have a major dilemma. Here are some tips on how to look effortlessly stylish at a wedding:

Tried and tested. Unless you are the bride, never wear a new outfit for the first time to an important event such as a wedding. You don't know whether it will be comfortable or whether it might let you down.

Stand out. Many wedding guests will still wear a traditional shift dress with a matching fascinator but if it suits your personality style, why not try wearing a gorgeous jumpsuit with heels instead? Be true to yourself to look and feel your best.

Not the time for business. Gentlemen, choose a statement tie in a beautiful silk or add an interesting colour in a detail of your outfit to avoid looking like you're at a business meeting.

Stay warm. If you worried about staying warm and stylish in the evening try a faux fur stole, a beautiful cashmere cardigan or a statement shawl.

Flats are in. There is nothing worse than watching someone struggle through a wedding in a pair of killer high heels. Have some spare flats in your bag for dancing in but make sure they still work with your outfit.

Nicola Whybrow


Staying out for summer

Staying out for summer

Q. We've got our hearts set on an al fresco, boho-style big day, but some members of the wedding party are expecting something more traditional and indoors-based. How can we make sure everybody is happy?

A. Jennifer Hall says: It's important to remember that this is your wedding. Family and friends will always have an opinion on what you should and shouldn't do, but it's what you want to do that really matters.

The main concern guests have about an outdoor wedding is being uncomfortable. Make sure you're telling your guests on your wedding website or in your guest information all the details; if there's a chance it may be muddy then let your guests know to bring their wellies. If it's going to be hot and sunny, make sure you have plenty of shade, so people don't have to sit in the hot sun, and make sure there's plenty of water available. If it's going to rain, make sure you have adequate shelter for your guests such as a stretch tent. And if it's going to be a bit chilly, look at bringing in some firepits and have some blankets available. As long as your guests are well prepared and comfortable, they will be happy.

Jennifer Hall


Rain or shine

Rain or shine

Q. What are the most important things to remember when it comes to having a summer wedding?

A. Becky Steljes says: The weather seems to always be at the forefront of our summer brides' minds. Generally, if you've picked a summer wedding – you're hoping for good weather and if you get it, great. My advice always stays the same though, don't just plan your wedding around having good weather; make sure that you've got a really good plan B up your sleeve. There's lots of ways to make sure you won't be disappointed if you wake up and the weather hasn't gone to plan.

Have a chat with your photographer prior to the day and make a stormy/rainy day photo plan too. We have had some of the most amazing wedding photos taken during less than perfect weather conditions here at Hillfields Farm. Make the most of the dramatic settings or get some cute umbrellas close to hand and have some fun!

Be organised! This generally goes without saying when it comes to weddings, but people tend to be busier in the summer months and often get holidays booked early. Make sure you get your save the dates and invites out early to avoid disappointment.

Becky Steljes


The dresser

The dresser

Q. How did you combine rustic barn décor with a modern twist in our 'get the look' special?

A. Laura Clifford says: We brought along an old whisky barrel to showcase the cake, cedar tree stumps and an old pine barn door to create half of the top table, fabrics, candles, festoon lighting, drapes, cutlery, glasses, charger plates and linen. Paired with all the other incredible pieces the suppliers brought, it just created this magical tablescape in the most beautiful setting. I now want this layout on my kitchen table every day!!

Laura Clifford


Get ready for love

Get ready for love

Q. We're finally engaged, and I'm so excited! Can you offer any idea of a sensible timescale and what our priorities should be?

A. Karin Tindall says: Congratulations on your engagement! A very good first step is sitting down and working out a rough guest list. Figure out how many people you will be inviting for the day and for the evening. This will help greatly when you take the next step: looking at venues. Most venues will book up around 12 months in advance. My next suggestion is not as much fun but equally as important: your budget. Visiting wedding fairs can be a nice way of getting a good grasp on the cost of suppliers in your area, from florists and cake makers to photographers.

Once you have a budget in mind, visit your shortlist of venues and secure what will become a very special date and place. Now the real fun begins, including finding the dress. A wedding gown purchased from a classic boutique will require around six to nine months from placing an order to being ready for collection. Use the time gathering inspiration from magazines, Instagram and Pinterest, planning and ordering your flowers, cake, stationery (sending savethe- dates is very sensible), transport and other touches to create your perfect day. Enjoy the planning!

Karin Tindall


The gift of giving

The gift of giving

Q. We couldn't have planned the wedding without the help of our mothers – we want to do something really special to thank them. Any suggestions?

A. Bianca Elgar says: I would always suggest a glorious, good-quality of clothing – something that will stand the test of time and can be adapted to suit each woman's style. My philosophy is that investing in statement pieces equals a huge style pay-off. They can make a look and be worn again and again. Pure silk is associated with luxury and, with its natural lustre, feels amazing when worn next to the skin. I often give my Tube Tops as special presents – this one from The Language of Flowers collection has a particular significance, as I created the range to celebrate love in all its forms (L.O.F – Love!). Plus flowers are a traditional thank you gift, and these flowers are everlasting. If you plan to give the gift in advance of the big day, a Tube Top makes a fabulous and adaptable coverup to take anyone from the daytime ceremony right through to the dancefloor. I design them to flatter every size and shape.They can be worn as a top, a bolero and also a wonderfully decadent scarf. The Winter Flower design shown will work with a huge range of colour palettes and make for two chic, complementing wedding guests.

Bianca Elgar

The Secret Fitting Room
Fairmile Vineyard
Hair and Makeup with Dren
Castle Hotel Windsor Wedding Show