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Common wedding problems and solutions

Real brides offer their advice on the most common wedding problems

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Common wedding problems and how to solve them
How to solve common wedding problems. Image: Thinkstock

What are some of the most awkward wedding problems and how do you solve them? Our real brides have all the answers…

1. Our venue doesn’t have room for everyone on our guest list – how do we cut it?
“We chose a venue that only had ceremony space for 60 guests, which meant we had to cut our initial list. We compromised by only asking close family and friends to the ceremony, then making more of an event of our evening party so that guests who were only invited to that part of the day didn’t feel left out. We also tried to make cuts across the board, such as not inviting any plus-ones or people we work with.”
Jennifer Coulden

2. Our parents have come up with a list of friends to invite – how do we say no?
“This is difficult if parents are contributing to the wedding fund, as they expect to have a say. We gave both sets of parents a fixed number of invites for friends as they paid for a lot of our day, but if you’re funding it yourself, ask them to pay for any people they want to invite. If it’s a question of space just be firm – make it clear that you aren’t prepared to leave out your friends for the sake of theirs.”
Leanne Jones

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3. We don’t want kids at our wedding – how do we say so without offending people?
“We’ve been to so many weddings where kids made noise during the ceremony, and I hated the idea for mine. We thought about having a no kids policy, but realised we couldn’t ask guests with very young babies to leave them at home. We asked our ushers to seat people with children towards the back of the church, and asked the parents to take them out if they were noisy – if anybody was offended they didn’t say so! If you have slightly older children, why not ask some teenage guests who aren’t interested in the ceremony to babysit them?”
Janine Edwards

4. We’re having a few top table troubles – who do we have to include?
“Top tables are hard even with a traditional family set up, but divorced parents make it a nightmare! The usual line-up is your parents, best man and chief bridesmaid, but we couldn’t accommodate my husband’s parents’ new partners on one top table. We sat with our ushers and bridesmaids, then asked each set of parents to host a table of family and friends. We’ve also been to a wedding where the couple sat on a different table for each course of the wedding breakfast, only sitting with parents for the speeches.”
Lindsey Halling

5. My bridesmaid’s pregnant and I’ve already bought the dresses... Help!
“This happened to me and I felt really bad even bringing it up because she was so excited about the news. I made a point of leaving it for a couple of weeks after she told us. We’re going shopping together for a dress in the same colour as the other bridesmaids – luckily she’s offered to pay as she knows I won’t be able to return the original. I’m just going to tie everyone’s looks together on the day with matching bouquets and coordinating hairstyles.”
Lisa Collins

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6. We’re using friends as suppliers – how do we handle the money question?
“Instead of hiring outside people, we asked friends who were in those businesses instead. We made it clear we didn’t expect a discount – we were happy to pay the going rate as we knew they would do a good job. In most cases they insisted on giving us a discount anyway, but we made sure we helped them in return by recommending them to others.”
Sarah Chapham

7. We mentioned to lots of people that they’re invited to the wedding, but now it’s come down to it, we don’t have the budget. How do we explain that they can’t come?
“I did this with my work colleagues and felt so embarrassed about it! If you’re able to, ask them to the evening party, and don’t be apologetic about the fact that it’s not for the whole day. If you can’t invite them at all (which happened to me), be upfront about it from the beginning and simply apologise. Most people will understand that it’s a case of budget and not anything personal against them. I organised a night out before the wedding to celebrate instead – and made sure I bought a few rounds of drinks!”
Hannah James

8. Do we have to extend a plus one to guests if we don’t know their partners?
“Plus ones really eat into your budget and I don’t want to look around on my day and see lots of faces I don’t recognise. We haven’t given plus ones to single friends who know other guests and have only asked partners we know. We’ve ended up with a couple of exceptions as we don’t want to ask guests with long-term partners to travel a long way and spend lots on hotels by themselves.”
Kelly Harmer

9. We’ve decided to have a honeymoon gift list, but some older relatives are insisting on buying us something. What do we say?
“We had a similar problem, as lots of family members wanted to give us something to keep. We had a John Lewis gift list with just a few household things like nice wine glasses, a mirror, a clock etc, but there was the option to combine it with our Kuoni honeymoon list, so guests could choose what they wanted to do. We deliberately chose slightly more expensive gift list items so that most people went for the honeymoon option where they didn’t have to spend as much!”
Karen James

10. I’ve grown apart from a friend I used to be close to, but I think she’s expecting to be a bridesmaid. How do I avoid hurting her feelings?
“I had to do this and felt awful! I wimped out of actually telling the friend that she wasn’t a bridesmaid, but- asked her to give a reading, explaining how we thought she’d do a great job and that it would mean a lot to us. Luckily, she was pleased to have been asked, so I don’t think there are any hard feelings!”
Fran Rees

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