There’s plenty of advice out there when you’re planning your big day.

However, we’ve looked at forums, Facebook, Twitter and other social sites to see what real brides have said about planning their own weddings – what is taking up their time and what they think they would have done differently.

So here are 10 hints and tips to help YOU get it right

1. Set a budget first. Yes, first. Before you buy The Dress, choose a venue or a date. Your budget is going to impact on all of these things – it may dictate the time of year you get married, where you get married (you might decide to get married abroad) and that in turn will affect the sort of dress you decide to wear. Also you don’t want to be paying for the wedding long after you’re married – you’ll have better things to do! So sit down set a budget and take it from there.

2. Book a videographer. You know what a bride’s biggest regret is? Not having her wedding videoed. Still photography is emotive and special but there’s nothing to capture an atmosphere quite like live film – so build something into your budget for this.

3. Keep an open mind when you’re wedding dress shopping. You may have planned to get married in a full-skirted gown all your life, complete with cathedral length veil – but make a few bookings with at wedding dress boutiques and see what ideas the assistant has. A good assistant will be able to assess your figure and have a good idea of what would suit you – so try on some gowns she suggests – you may surprise yourself.

4. Have a chillout area at your wedding reception. Not everyone will want to dance the night away – some people, including the oldies maybe, want to sit, chat and catch up with friends and family they haven’t seen for ages. So have an area away from the dance floor that’s a little quieter, serve coffee, tea and cake and let everyone relax a little.

5. You don’t have to have wedding favours. They can eat into your budget and unless they are really special or original they’re likely to be left behind. Just because other brides offer them doesn’t mean you have to.

6. A photobooth offers guests some really fun entertainment and gives you a special record of your big day. Make sure you have some props handy – hats, quirky spectacles, feather boas and see how everyone styles themselves. Put a blank wedding guestbook alongside and get your guests to stick in their shots alongside a message to you and the bridegroom.

bridesmaids in pink holding bouquets

7. Having a wedding colour theme is a perfect way of making your look hang together. You can choose a single colour for your bridesmaids or a jewel theme in bright shades, an ombre theme (where one colour is graduated through in different shades) or two different contrasting colours. One of our stylists will dress your venue – the chairs and the tables – to match, which will certainly give your reception the wow factor when your guests enter.

8. Think about props to make your venue look inviting. In winter, lanterns lining the pathway to the reception entrance give a romantic glow – and can also be used on a summer evening as it begins to grow dark. Again, this is something one of our stylists could help with – they’ll have all sorts of accessories at their disposal to help you get the mood you’re after. For your table centrepieces you could use tall high vases with flower arrangements – these look spectacular and don’t block a guest’s view across their table when they’re in conversation.

9. Don’t just use the photographer recommended by your venue. Ask to see his or her website before you make a decision. Do you like reportage photography – which is more casual and on trend? Or are you a more traditional sort of a bride who wants formal family portraits taken? There are a lot of photographers out there so have a good look at the styles available and what appeals to you. Remember if you get married on a weekday or in the winter months photographers are more likely to be free, so there will be more choice on offer (and you’re more likely to be able to negotiate a special rate).

10. Take some time out with your new husband after the wedding service to just be together and enjoy the moment. Your wedding day will go far too quickly so you need to take stock, soak up the atmosphere and create some memories. Your guests will be fine – and it’s important the two of you have a little private time.

bride and groom in countryside

Featured images via Mark Dolby Photography