With so many beautiful barns, village halls, marquees and historic building like the Square Tower in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire offering a blank canvas for you to create your wedding from scratch it can be daunting and also so very exciting as you can make the day exactly what you want.
It's great you're not tied to limited food options for the wedding breakfast, dull evening buffets, times, decorations, only being able to use 'preferred suppliers' or the corporate style that other venues often bring.
The majority of functions we cater at are DIY weddings in these stunning venues and over the years we have learnt a lot of Do's and Don'ts to help you with your wedding day; here are our 5 top tips to remember when organising your wedding day.
1. Have bottled water - often bars don't open until the evening, there are often a couple of hours between the ceremony and meal; on hot days (the UK's weather is very unpredictable) your guests will get thirsty and want water.
As you've hired all the glasses and they on the tables you won't have any spare. We recommend you buy a bucket, line it with hessian or material, fill with cold water and put bottles of water in it. Place the bucket in a suitable location for guests to help themselves to.
2. Make sure you order two sets of champagne glasses - one set for your arrival drinks and one set for the toasts.
3. Have 'kids' packs for children - these don't have to be expensive get some crayons put them in a jam jar, along with colouring books, activity packs or toys for children to play with at the table as to keep them entertained.
4. Always have a few extra table cloths - there is always a table that someone forgets about from the card table, cake table, sweet tables or just a table cloth to cover the ugly table in the corner you forgot about.
5. Have a seating plan - it can be chaos without one. Not having a seating plan can be a nightmare with couples sitting on opposite tables and families split apart as there are not enough seats for them to sit together. It also takes twice as long to get everyone sat down.
You know who likes who and who will get on. If you want families and friends to mix then mix them up yourselves - a great way to do this is by age. Having a seating plan makes everything easier, more relaxed and enjoyable.
The best part of the wedding is the organising with friends and family finding the perfect location, food, invites, themes, names tags, favours, room decorations and so much more before you know it the day will come together then all you have to do is enjoy it. For some ideas visit Pinterest.
Robert McHugh, a professional chef with over 12 years of experience working in a range of high end restaurants.