Work that wedding magic: 13 hacks to make your big day the BEST day!


Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful times in your life, but we’ve collected a few hints and tips from brides and grooms along the way at the Ashbourne and Brackenborough hotels….and we thought it was high time to share the best of them with you.  Oh, and after planning and running hundreds of weddings over the years at both hotels, we have a bit of our own wisdom to impart, too!  25 years of experience – all here for the taking….

  1. Get organised.


However much your friends point and laugh at you hugging your laptop, or dragging your battered notebook everywhere with you, organisation really is key for a project of this scale (and importance!)  For the technically minded, a spreadsheet is ideal; set tabs along the bottom for each category – photographer, cake, dress, flowers etc and you can keep running notes on suppliers and prices as you go along.  Or a dedicated wedding file that can be purchased at any large retailer will do much the same job.   And if you can manage to let it all go on the big day, this file can be handed over to your most trusted friend/family member to oversee everything while you sit back with a glass of fizz and take it all in!


  1. Make notes.

wedding diary

Again, don’t worry about appearing over-organised or bossy; turn up at appointments with a list of basic questions, and mark important aspects out of ten, so you have a standardised benchmark to compare them all afterwards.  It will really help with your decisions, though don’t forget your good old fashioned gut-instinct, too.  We have many couples that come armed with questions, and to be honest, it actually makes everything easier as we have something to work with, and it helps us advise on the best package for them.


  1. Get appy!


There are so many of them on the market now, from wedding organising apps, to apps that guests can download with wedding lists/links to honeymoon funds etc.  The options are endless, so it really is worth investigation – your phone is always to hand, after all!


  1. Pin it.


Pinterest is quite possibly the single biggest innovation for brides-to-be that the industry has seen in the past decade.  A totally free to use global pinboard-meets-social-media where inspiration can not only be found for any area of interest you may have, but those individual snapshots (or, pins) can be added to your own personal pinboards according to category.  So, collect bridalwear pins and keep them on a private board for your eyes only, or collect wedding stationery ideas you adore, or wedding décor inspiration.  Just be aware that you will lose a LOT of hours on this, so use the time wisely!  A really powerful tool to hone your ideas and tastes, and if you can show key images to suppliers, this is also really helpful for them.  Use it.  Now.

5. Count yourselves in.


Sounds silly, but one of the most common oversights we encounter is the wedding couple forgetting to add themselves into the numbers for the wedding for catering purposes etc.  Don’t forget yourselves!


  1. Be budget savvy.


It is so easy to get carried away when there are seemingly infinite things to add to the “must have” list…as you’ll find once you spend some time on Pinterest!  But, if there are budget constraints, then it’s time to get ruthless.  Will it add value to your wedding?  Will you personally get enjoyment from it?  Will it be something you remember fondly in years to come?  If not, ditch it, and save your cash for things that tick all of those boxes.


  1. Break from tradition.

non tradition

We see so many couples who go through the motions of what “should” be done on the wedding day, even if they don’t really want it.  Don’t fancy a top table?  Don’t have one!  Is a Friday a more convenient wedding day for your personal circumstances?  Book it – your loved ones will be there whatever the day, and once the wedding is in progress, who cares what day it is?!  Do you want to cut the cake and do the speeches before dinner, so everyone can sit down and relax for the rest of the day?  Do it!  There are so many variations on the theme, and they all work beautifully, so make it work for yourselves – it’s your day, after all.


  1. If the shoe fits….


However comfy your wedding shoes look, or seem, wear them around the house a few times whilst you go about your daily chores, before the wedding.  You will be so grateful come the day that they’re not brand new anymore – just make sure your other half is out of the house if you’re keeping them a surprise, and don’t get them dirty!


  1. Photo finish.


Everyone places priority on different suppliers, once they’ve booked the venue, but for us, we always advise getting your photographer booked as one of the first ports of call after booking with us.  Some items that you opt for won’t last for ever, but the photos will last a lifetime.  So, if you have your heart set on a specific photographer, book them fast.


  1. Be prepared.

wet wedding

If the weather is likely to be shocking, get organised.  Buy wellies and an umbrella (they are great props for the photos, too!) Buy a fur shrug to go with your dress, and embrace it.  And if you’ve organised an outside ceremony with us, panic not; we can switch from an outside ceremony to an inside affair in around 10 minutes, if the skies look menacing, which means one less thing for you to worry about!


  1. Brand yourselves.


One of the quickest and easiest ways to collect amazing snapshots from your guests’ perspective, is to create an Instagram hashtag and advertise it to your wedding party.  Just try out a few possible hashtags beforehand on Instagram until you find one that hasn’t been used by anyone else, and then you’ve got a permanent online viewing gallery afterwards that you didn’t have to lift a finger to put together!

   12. Delegate.


Everyone wants to help in situations such as this, so providing you can let some of it go, then give it to others to arrange.  Send your mum to the florist to communicate your ideas, ask your chief bridesmaid to organise your hen night, task your partner with organising gifts for key people for the day.  Give them access to your files, and some trust, and see how much you can lighten the load.



happy couple

We know it’s easier said than done, but we’ve had our fair share of stressed-out brides, rushing around the tables an hour before the wedding putting last minute touches in place.  Try to delegate (that word again!), don’t lose sight of what’s important (having an amazing day with your family & friends) and try not to focus on what’s not so important (the smaller details that can be entrusted to others).

Just remember that it’ll be over in a heartbeat, so try to enjoy the entire process, and know when to switch into “big day mode” when the time comes.

From all at the Ashbourne and Brackenborough Hotels, we wish you a happy and successful wedding planning process, and a wonderful big day.

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For more information on Oak Ridge weddings:

Ashbourne Hotel    01469 541010        Brackenborough Hotel    01507 609169


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