Questions You Forgot To Ask Your Wedding Planner

When you are planning your wedding, you are likely to have thousands of questions running through your mind all at once. Unfortunately some of these questions can get lost during preparations because more pressing matters may be at hand. Here is our handy guide to questions that you may ask yourself when you are planning your wedding.

Why are weddings important?

You may be asking yourself why the whole day is even that important. We can wholeheartedly tell you that your wedding day is one of, if not the most, special days in your whole life. It’s one of those rare and precious occasions that brings so many people together for the sole purpose of celebrating two people’s love for each other. After all, what is a wedding without being able to share this love with your family and friends?

Why Do The Bride & Groom Give Each Other Rings?

The idea behind the ring is that love has no beginning and it has no end. A wedding ring is to symbolise eternal love and is placed on the aptly named “ring finger” of the left hand. People used to believe that this finger was the only one that contained a direct vein to the heart.

Do I Have to Follow Wedding Traditions?

No, you do not have to follow wedding traditions if you do not want to. Traditions are usually followed because of religion or culture, but that does not mean you cannot have exactly what you want on your special day. An example of tradition that is not always followed is that you and your partner must read traditional vows. This does not have to be the case if you have thought up your own. Speak to your planner about how you can tailor traditions into your wedding, and maybe ways that you can tweak their ideas to make your wedding more unique and personal to you.

Do I Need a Wedding Rehearsal? And If So Who Should Attend?

Wedding rehearsals are not a fundamental part of planning a wedding and are only really necessary if your wedding involves a lot of moving around, or if the order of procession is slightly different because of your environment. That said, rehearsals are a great way of ensuring that everyone knows what they need to do when the special day comes around and ironing out any problems that might arise before your big day.  Wedding rehearsals usually involve the newlyweds, the parents, the officiant and the wedding party.

Group Of Bridesmaids Blowing Bubbles In Garden

I Want To Include My Children In My Wedding, What Wedding Roles Can They Fill?

Children have played a vital part in weddings for years and years, whether it be as a cute bridesmaid or the young boy who giggles when the happy couple share their first kiss.

There are a variety of roles that a child can fill and it never hurts to be creative. Children are usually just delighted to be involved! Roles such as table entertainer, or Flower-Hander-Outer can be made up especially for young ones and it will keep them occupied and out of trouble. If you have an older child, or you want them to play a more traditional part in your wedding, these are other more formal roles they can fill:

  • Ring Bearer
  • Flower Girl
  • Bridesmaid
  • Usher/Groomsman

What Do I Say In My Wedding Toast?

Wedding toasts can be tricky as you will have all eyes on you when you are telling the story of your love. Wedding toasts generally change depending on the person doing the speech, for example the best man’s speech is usually funny, lighthearted and intended to show their friendship with the groom.

If you are having trouble with your wedding toast, then try to remember why you love your partner so much and why everyone is here to see you get married. Maybe tell the story of how you met your partner? Where you first realised you were in love? Stories like these tend to get a good reaction. Above all remember that, no matter how nervous you are, everyone watching is behind you 100% and that the odd slip up is okay.

When planning a wedding, it can be easy to forget about the little things. These have been a few small answers to some of your unanswered wedding questions. If you would like some more information about the Riverside Marquee and how we can make sure your wedding is as special as possible, then please feel free to contact us on 01628 762700.

Riverside MarqueeQuestions You Forgot To Ask Your Wedding Planner
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Wedding Planning Checklist

Your big day is on it’s way, yet getting everything ready for your wedding celebrations is quite a task in itself. Make sure your day goes without a hitch (apart from yours) with our wedding planning checklist which runs through the logistics of creating the perfect wedding.

Find someone to marry.

We cannot help with that particular task, so we will assume that side of things is already sorted.

12 months to go

Set you budget (and try to keep to it!)

Set your budget and have discuss costs with relevant people. Get any awkward conversations about setting the budget out the way first and foremost and work out what you’re going to spend where spend where.

Choose a reception venue and book it.

Create a shortlist and view your preferred wedding reception venues. Make provisional bookings for the date you want with venues you can’t decide between. When your final decision is made cancel provisional bookings and confirm in writing to the venue of your choice.

Book the ceremony venue (and registrar).

This might be in a church, temple, synagogue, meeting house, approved venue or registry office.  In many cases the ceremony and reception venue are one in the same which can really help with logistics of the day.

Create your provisional guest list.

Make sure you don’t exceed the venue capacity (although some may not be able to attend so have a few guests on standby).

Send invites to let everyone know your wedding date and to get final numbers.

Get invites out early to make sure your guests can reserve the date in their diaries.  Include information on overnight accommodation, transport, parking and any dress code if appropriate. Include reply cards to ensure they all RSVP and ask your guests if they have any specific dietary requirements. Chase up non-responders after a month to ensure there are no hiccups with too many attendees.

11 months to go

Create a revised guest list.

You can get seating plans sorted now if you like (these can always be revised nearer the date as needed).

Choose the bridesmaids and best man.

You know who they are. Don’t let anyone else have a say on this. Make sure you assign roles early as you’ll find their advice and support is vital throughout the planning process.

If you want fancy transport, book it now.

Hint, classic cars are beautiful but are temperamental – make sure there is a transport plan B just in case!

Book your musicians or DJ.

Live music is so much better than a disco but can cost considerably more. Think about when and how you want music played throughout the reception.

Choose and book a photographer/videographer

Check their online portfolios and make sure you meet them before making your final choice. It’s important they understand you, After all, they are responsible for capturing your memories of the day.  Look for someone whose portfolio matches the style of photo you want (traditional, contemporary, relaxed, reportage).

10 months to go

Decide on a theme.

Check out Pinterest and magazines for inspiration. Also speak to the event planners at your venue. Having seen many weddings they’re likely to be able to throw a few more good ideas into the pot.

Start looking for a wedding dress.

Online shopping is OK, but nothing beats the bespoke service of a good local boutique. If you are going bespoke then you’ll need to give them at least 6 months for completion time and alterations. Don’t forget to buy any shoes and accessories to co-ordinate you overall look.

Book your caterers and decide on your menu.

Speak to your caterers about menu choices and book a tasting to help you decide on your final menu. Think about your guests dietary requirements and any allergies and make sure they are communicated to the caters well in advance.

9 months to go

Decide whether you want a Town Crier/Master of Ceremonies or not.

Having a master of ceremonies or can add a bit of traditional charm to your wedding day and help keep the day on track and on time.

If you haven’t already done it, buy/order your wedding dress.

Don’t forget to order shoes, tiara, veil and other accessories to co-ordinate your overall look.

Order your wedding cake.

Or what about a cup cake tower, or French croquembouche?

Choose and book your florist.

From the bridal bouquet, to table decorations, button holes and dressing the ceremony and reception venue, fresh flowers help create a mood and compliment your theme.

Wedding flowers

Book your honeymoon.

This is the fun bit. Plan for the best holiday of your life. Find somewhere you can relax, but that also offers activities that both you and your new spouse can enjoy together. Remember, this holiday is going to provide some of your most precious memories for life.

Choose the bridesmaids dresses and hire or buy suits for the groom, best man and ushers

Remember, bridesmaids should never outshine the bride.

6 months to go

Book in the brides hairdressing and make-up session.

Speak to a few stylists and give yourself time to try a few styles to make sure you’re happy with the final look. For many brides this is just as important as the dress. Don’t forget to take your tiara, veil or other hair accessories with you.

Bridal hairstyle with flowers

Buy your wedding rings.

You will be wearing them for a lifetime, so make sure they are a good fit.

Choose the readings, poems, hymns etc.

Let the readers know your choices and make sure they are happy with them.

Agree the order of service and vows with your vicar or registrar and your partner.

A surprisingly important part of the day.

3 months to go

Set up your gift list.

Or be daring and don’t bother with one (but you might end up with three toasters!)

Have your dress fittings/alterations.

Make sure this is done leaving plenty of time for final adjustments.

Buy gifts for your bridal party.

It is definitely the thought that counts and will be something they can remember your big day by for many years to come.

Write the speeches.

Make sure they are appropriate for the audience. Adjust accordingly.

Make arrangements for your hen and stag parties

Enlist the help of your best man and chief bridesmaid.

1 month to go

Chase any outstanding RSVP’s and finalise seating plans

Confirm final numbers and details with the catering company and the reception venue.
It’s worth worth having a face-to-face meeting a week or two before the big day to finalise arrangements and iron out any questions you might have.

Pay all final balances.

Make sure all your suppliers are happy.

1 week to go

Hand over contact details of your suppliers to a designated person

You’ve got other things to worry about on your big day than chasing late suppliers, or dealing with problems that crop up. Appoint a trusted member of the wedding party with details of your suppliers and brief them on your plans for the day so they can help out with chasing where necessary.

Collect the wedding dress and grooms outfit.

Don’t forget to arrange the return of hired items after the wedding.

Start wearing in your wedding shoes

There’s nothing worse then a pair of uncomfortable shoes.

Have any hair or beauty treatments

Tanning treatments, facials, hair colouring and cutting, waxing – get all these done a few days in advance of your wedding.

Start packing for your honeymoon

Make sure well in advance that you have everything you need for your holiday of a lifetime. Now is a good time to also make sure you also have all the currency you need for your time away.

bride and groom

1 day to go

Relax and don’t panic

With your careful planning and choice of suppliers everything should be well in hand for your special day. It’s important that you spend today relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends.

Have your last minute beauty preparations

Book a relaxing massage and have a manicure done last thing in the afternoon to avoid chip and breaks before tomorrow.

Get an early night

Because tomorrow is your big day and most importantly it’s time for you to ENJOY YOUR WEDDING

Have we missed something important off the list? Get in touch to share your thoughts and suggestions for planning the perfect wedding.

Riverside MarqueeWedding Planning Checklist
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Wedding Open Day 2016

The Riverside Marquee is opening its doors on the 17th January 2016 to allow grooms and brides to be to sample how we bring happiness to your special day.

We invite you to join us at our absolutely stunning riverside location from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm to meet our many wedding suppliers, sample free refreshments and meet members of our events team who will be on hand to answer any queries about how we ensure your wedding day is one to remember.

Based just minutes from the small village of Bray, you’ll find us at

Weir Bank, Monkey Island Lane

Please RSVP to:

Riverside MarqueeWedding Open Day 2016
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A Winter Wonderland Christmas Party

This Christmas join us in our Winter Wonderland in a spectacular setting on the banks of the River Thames at Bray.

Make your way through the snow dusted trees and underneath the hanging snowflakes to your very own spectacular winter themed Christmas Party with dramatic lighting, crisp white table linen, chair covers with sparkly organza bows and glowing table decorations.

Winter Wonderland Party Packages start from £45.00 per person to include:

  • White Carpet Arrival
  • Iced Cocktail on arrival
  • Full Winter Wonderland party theme (download flyer)
  • Crackers and table novelties
  • Festive three course meal (sample menu)
  • Live Band

Book your 2015 Christmas party today.  Call the Riverside Marquee on 01628 762700.

Riverside MarqueeA Winter Wonderland Christmas Party
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Planning the Perfect Company Christmas Party

The company Christmas party is so much more than an excuse for a drink with work colleagues. A good party can cement friendships, encourage team development and actually improve the company’s future profitability. So, lets make this year’s part the best ever.

Whilst the task can seem at first daunting, by following our guide to planning the perfect company Christmas party the end result is sure to get everyone in the festive spirit.

1. Set the date

Christmas is a busy time of year and diaries fill up fast with social events. The best venues get booked early so it’s also important to secure the date you want with them as soon as possible.

This might mean booking early in the year in order to secure your spot prior to Christmas. You could also consider holding your Christmas party in January (many companies do this) for more flexibility with dates and to beat the post-Christmas blues.

Once you have your date, send out a “save the date” email to everyone asking them to keep the date free. You can also use this as an opportunity for finding out dietary requirements and allergies.

2. And your budget

If you are not the holder of the purse strings, find out in advance how much the company is willing to spend per head. Be careful of falling into the trap of being asked to research everything first, only to be told that it’s out of budget once all the hard work has been done.

Get a clear idea of how much you have to spend. Then allocate this to the items you’ll need to make your party go with a swing; the band, the food and drink, the venue, the entertainment, decorations etc.

Allocating a price per head, can make the party planning easier. Particularly when many venues offer set Christmas party packages that tick many aspects of party planning off your to-do list; venue hire, food and drinks, entertainment and decorations. This is ideal when planning large scale company parties.

Whether you’re handling all aspects yourself, or outsourcing party planning, remember to leave some money aside to cover any unexpected costs.

3. Book your venue

Good venues fill up fast, so you need to move quickly to secure the date you want with the venue of your choice.

  • Do your initial research on-line looking for venues that are available, within budget and that are easy-to-get-to for your guests.
  • Look for something a little unusual that will provide the Wow factor to your party.
  • Talk to the events team at the venue – they’ll be able to answer any questions and provide ideas for your party.
  • Visit the venue to make sure it meets all your needs – capacity, layout, location, parking, furniture, equipment etc.
  • Provisionally book the venue if necessary, but confirm your final choice in writing as soon as possible after making your decision.

4. Decide on your Christmas party theme

If the venue does not already offer a theme, choosing one for your party helps add an element of fun and provides a central idea on which to hang the rest of your planning such as the décor, entertainment and catering. Use magazines websites and even high street shop displays for inspiration, or enlist the help of a professional event planner to get creative for you.

Popular themes are to go formal, with black tie and evening gowns, or vintage by choosing an era and asking guests to dress accordingly (e.g. the 1950s, 60s, 70s or 80s).

Or you could simply opt for fun themes such as the wild west, a night at the circus, winter wonderland, a night in Marrakech, or a music and film genres.

Once you’ve chosen your theme you’ll find lots of ideas start flowing for tailoring your party. What’s more your guests can get in the party spirit beforehand with planning and comparing what they’ll be wearing to your event.

4. Put on a good spread

This is a night to say thank you to staff for their hard work over the year so do the best you can with the budget available.

Whilst it’s a Christmas party, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to a traditional Christmas menu of Turkey and all the trimmings. Be creative, ask for advice from your event planners or venue caterers. If you have a theme, try and match what you serve with this.

It’s not unusual for many venues to offer a menu with a number of options for starter, main and desert. But don’t forget if you offer menu options, your guests will need to confirm their choices beforehand to help your party run smoothly.

Within the menu make sure you have a couple of options for anyone with food allergies and above all, don’t forget the vegetarians.

If catering for a large group with a bespoke menu, request a menu tasting to check that it delivers on taste and quality.

5. Help guests get into the festive spirit

No party is complete without a few Christmas drinks. When planning your party think about what drinks are covered within your budget. Pre-ordering welcome drinks on arrival and with the meal is a good way of ensuring everyone gets their fair share, without blowing the budget. Whereas if money is no object then simply pay for what is consumed on the night. Alternatively provide drinks vouchers for all guests so that they have the choice of what they consume.

Remember to provide soft drinks for those driving and plenty of water on the table to help minimise sore heads the next day.

You may also want to consider how the drinks are served. To avoid long queues at the bar a waiter service may be better for large parties. Whereas allowing guests to help themselves from drinks dotted around the venue may be better suited to smaller gatherings.

6. Book your entertainment

It’s the end of a long year and your guests are looking for the opportunity to let their hair down and have fun. Selecting the right entertainment for your Christmas party is crucial to helping your guests relax and enjoy themselves.


Whether this is a DJ, a live band or both, make sure you choose something that will suit all tastes and encourage your guests to strut their stuff on the dance floor. Mix up your playlist with guaranteed floor fillers and Christmas favourites. Check that the lighting rig and sound system flows to the areas of the party you want it to reach.


To help break the ice and get the party started you may want to organise some entertainment.   Getting this right can elevate a good night, to one that is remembered and talked about for weeks to come. Popular options include live performers such as circus acts, magicians and comedians; activities such as casino tables, cocktail making and murder mysteries; or entertainers that work the room such as magicians and caricaturists.

Many venues and event planners will already have relationships with trusted suppliers, so it’s worth speaking to them to help source those that are suitable for your party and the venue space.

7. Organise thank you speeches

Christmas parties are a means of thanking staff for their work and support over the year, and as such a short speech made by the MD or Director is a good way of delivering this sentiment to everyone.

Decide in advance who should deliver this, and make sure they have plenty of time to prepare a short thank you speech for delivery during the evening. If there are particular individuals for thanking or recognition, make sure gifts or awards are ready and at the venue to be handed out at the appropriate time.

As Christmas parties have a tendency to get a little more rowdy as the evening wears on, it’s a good idea to schedule the speech for a time when it’ll be heard (and not heckled). If it’s being delivered to a large group you will also want to make sure a microphone is on hand so that everyone can hear.

8. Send out invitations

When you have finalised details of your party make sure everyone knows about it well in advance so they can get the date in the diary, organise outfits and book hotels, babysitters and transport.

Within your invitation include details of:

  • The party date, when it starts and ends
  • The party theme
  • Dress code for the evening
  • Who to RSVP to and by when
  • The venue location and details of how to get there, nearby hotels and local taxi firms
  • Menu options with details of when and who to send final food choices to
  • Who to notify of any dietary requirements
  • Organised transport and how to book a place on this

9.  Add a little Christmas magic

A few well thought out extras can add a sprinkle of Christmas magic to your party, providing guests with some memorable experiences. Little touches might include:

  • Purchasing a small Christmas gift for each guest left at their table place, or organising a visit from Santa to hand out presents.
  • Hiring a photographer (or photobooth) to capture professional shots of the evening.
  • Leaving a few small games scattered around tables to help guests start mingling and having fun.
  • Decorating each table with flowers, candles and decorations to match your theme.

10. Create a buzz of anticipation

As the date gets closer start building the anticipation for your Christmas party with a series wall posters or emails to create a sense of growing excitement. Be careful not to give away too many secrets! Keep some under your hat to surprise and delight guests on the night.

Riverside MarqueePlanning the Perfect Company Christmas Party
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Riverside Wedding Venue Open Day

The Riverside Marquee invites all brides to be to join us on Sunday 27th September for our wedding venue open day.

From 11.00 am to 4.00 pm we’d be delighted to show you around the stunning grounds of our beautiful Bray location.  We’ll be on hand to talk to you about how we can make your special day one to remember.  And share with you a selection of refreshments.

Based just minutes from the small village of Bray, you’ll find us at

Weir Bank, Monkey Island Lane

Please RSVP to:

Wedding Open Day 27th Septeber 2015

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