Cheat Sheet

Wedding Planning For Dummies (UK Edition)

Planning a wedding takes hours of your time, with suppliers to source, a design to dream up and hundreds of decisions to make. Suddenly, you have to think about what size tables and linen you need, how many guests you can se_lsU.rtfat at each table, and many other things. This Cheat Sheet is a handy quick reference for some of the things you’ll need to bear in mind as you plan your big day.

Making a Bride’s Emergency Kit

No, we’re not talking defibrillators, we’re talking about a bag of items that you may desperately need during the wedding day. What if someone treads on your dress and leaves a mark? What if the wasps start attacking? You need a sizeable bag packed and left with a bridesmaid so you can just yell, ‘Get the bag!’ and restore calm to your big day. Here are some ideas for what to pack:

Category Must-Haves
First aid Bite-relief cream, allergy tablets and insect repellent; headache tablets; indigestion tables; plasters
Beauty Body tape for cleavage; baby wipes (good for anything and everything); deodorant; hair clips, brush and hairspray; make-up; nail file and clear nail varnish; perfume; sanitary products; sun cream if hot; tissues; toothbrush and toothpaste
Miscellaneous bits and bobs Clothes brush; cufflinks (someone always forgets); earring backs; mini sewing kit; mints; flat shoes for dancing; travel shoe polish; white chalk to cover any smudges on the dress

Laying On the Right Number of Drinks for Each Wedding Guest

Confused about how much guests should have to drink on your wedding day? Use this helpful little table to act ever-so-knowledgeable in venue planning meetings.

Part of Reception Per Person Quantity
Drinks reception (1-1/2 hour) Three drinks and some soft drinks
Table wine Half a bottle; red/white mix
Champagne toast One glass (six champagne flute glasses per bottle)
Table water (still/sparkling) Half a bottle (or one jug per table to be replenished)

Knowing How Many Wedding Guests to Seat at Each Table

Here are some guidelines for working out how many guests to seat at your tables. The lower guest number is comfortable, whereas the higher is a little more of a squeeze.

Table Size Number of Guests Per Table
91 centimetres (3 feet round) Cake table or a sweetheart table for two
1.52 metres (5 feet round) 8–10 guests
1.68 metres (5 feet 6 inches round) 9–11 guests
1.83 metres (6 feet round) 10–12 guests
1.83 metres x 76 centimetres (6 feet x 2 feet 6 inches trestle table) used in a long line Four guests using sides only

Choosing the Right Size Tablecloths for Your Wedding Reception

Nothing’s worse than ill-fitting linen on a table, so always ask to see the linen and ask what the dimensions are. Here’s a guideline on recommended sizes for most common-sized tables (usually 76.2 centimetres or 30 inches high).

Table Diameter Floor-Length Cloth
91 centimetres (3 feet round) 2.75 metres (108 inches) to the floor and trailing
2.28 metres (90 inches) has a 68-centimetre drop
1.52 metres (5 feet round) 3.05 metres (120 inches) to the floor
2.75 metres (108 inches) has a 60-centimetre drop
1.68 metres (5 feet 6 inches round) 3.35 metres (132 inches) to the floor and trailing
3.05 metres (120 inches) has a 68-centimetre drop
2.75 metres (108 inches) has a 53-centimetre drop
1.83 metres (6 feet round) 3.35 metres (132 inches) to the floor
3.05 metres (120 inches) has a 60-centimetre drop
1.83 metres x 76 centimetres (6 feet x 2 feet 6 inches trestle table) 1.83 x 3.66 metres (144 inches x 70 inches) provides a 38-centimetre drop on all sides
2.28 metres x 2.74 metres (108 inches x 90 inches) to the floor

Ensuring You Have Enough Servers at Your Wedding Reception

Never assume a caterer will bring the correct number of waiters/waitresses to service your wedding efficiently. Use this chart (based on 100 guests) as a guideline in your planning meetings.

Type of Service Recommended Number of Servers
Drinks reception Four waiters/waitresses for canapés
Four to six staff members for the drinks if bringing them out to guests
Buffet/hog roast Five waiters/waitresses
Formal sit-down One waiter/waitress per 10 guests
One front-of-house manager to instruct staff
Evening bar Four to six staff including a person to clear glasses and restock the bar

Doing Good While Getting Hitched

Here are some ways to spread the love you’re feeling (and feel better about spending all that money) as you work your way through planning your wedding:

  • Donate your dress. Wedding Wishing Well Foundation organises weddings for terminally ill people, and Oxfam has several specialist bridal departments across the UK.

  • Register for charity. If you have enough pots and pans, discreetly steer your guests to a website where, in lieu of gifts, they can donate money to your favourite charity. Just Giving, The Alternative Wedding List and Oxfam Unwrapped enable you to create donation registries.

  • Go green. Tree-free invitations, organic food, party favours that help the homeless, eco-tour honeymoons – every aspect of your wedding can make a statement about being environmentally and socially responsible. Green Union helps couples locate like-minded suppliers and offers advice on ways to plan an eco-friendly wedding.

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