• Kelly Robbins

Wedding Day advice- Tips, must dos and must haves

Advice from a new wifey to all bride to be's. Wedding day must haves and things I would have changed...

After postponing 3 times, myself and my husband finally tied the knot on January 16th 2022. Amazingly, the sun was shining all day and it was actually really mild, we didn't even need the fur wraps I had brought for myself and all of the bridal party. We married in Brighton, at the stunning historic, Grand Hotel, about a 3hour drive from where we live in Birmingham.

We were originally due to be married in the summer of July 2020, all was booked way back when, within months of getting engaged in March 2019. I had planned everything, I even brought my dress in early 2022, so eventually sat, kind of twiddling my thumbs waiting for the big day. With the postponements, we then had dates in October 2020 and February 2021. The date changed because of the obvious ongoings in the world and we had a lot going on in our personal lives too. Funnily, I actually didn't adjust a single thing for the big day, plans and contracts wise, even with the years and season changes with each date. I know many would maybe change their colour scheme and things, going from summer to winter, but I had already brought everything and absolutely loved it all so much, I figured, why change it?

With all of the postponing, we did add bits and bobs to the day, I figured we deserved it with the inconvenience of moving everything so much (Like many, I took any opportunity to find a perk in the situation). I added, singers, an LED dance floor, additional decor, real flowers-- quite a lot actually thinking about it. It got out of hand really, I can’t lie, I was even trying to add Alpacas at one stage (I'm not even joking). By the time the day came around, I couldn't even remember what we'd booked, it was nice actually as so many things were a real surprise for us, as well as the guests.

All of our 90 guests attended, all day, the ceremony, reception drinks and canapés, sit down meal and the evening reception. Numbers wise it was a 'medium sized wedding' for the UK. We chose Brighton as our setting, as the location itself has always been, my happy place. Its so relaxed there and I just love the feeling every time I've ever visited.

We live in Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham, we have many well known wedding venues on our doorstep, Newhall, The Belfry, Moxhall, Moor Hall, Shustoke Barn, The Mill barns, to name but a few. There were some guests who questioned why we’d marry so far away from home. I never felt the need to justify our decision, it’s simply where, we wanted, to get married. One of the main things we absolutely loved about Brighton and our venue was that it looked out to sea at the iconic old pier. The wedding would be a real couples 'weekend away'. We only had our own children at the wedding, no others atall, mainly, so all of the adults could truly let their hair down. I know many encounter problems with this wedding dilemma, for us luckily noone said anything negative about it and many were glad for the getaway after all of the lockdowns. A huge selling point was the seafront of Brighton being like a strip. There is such variety of hotels for guests to choose from, something to suit all budgets and tastes.

In the lead up to our wedding covid had picked up a little again, with being so close to Christmas, so of course this was a little bit of a worry. Surprisingly, only one of our guests, from the whole guest list, didn't attend, he let us know that morning (he had tested positive for covid). I was due to start cancer treatment after the wedding and we were aware the future was very uncertain. We of course desperately wanted our day and to be married. We also wanted the opportunity to have all of our friends and family in one place and to finally have this amazing day - something to cherish and remember. But, there was also a, need, for the day, for legal reasons, if I sadly I didn't make it from the cancer.

Tips for the bride on the lead up to your big day

  1. Don't listen to anyone else's opinions. If you two love what you've chosen or the way you're doing/having something, don't let anyones opinions change that. Please, yourselves- Don't people please. This is your day, no-one should be adding stress to you.

  2. Don't stress about 'traditions' or 'the way things should be'- Make your own traditions. There's no 'rule' of who should sit at YOUR top table, the order YOU should walk down the aisle, YOUR speeches. Do whatever you prefer, mix it up.

  3. Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Things like the weather, it’s such a shame if it isn’t as you expected but there’s no need wasting energy on things can’t change the outcome of.

  4. Don't sweat the small stuff, honestly. All of these teeny things, little toilet basket signs, flip-flops, favours, they're lovely to have, but don't stress if you don't get time to do them, or everything isn't 'perfect'. I promise you on the day, you won't even notice. You're in so much of a bubble you don't even see these things.

Tips for the couple on the wedding day

1. Stay close to your partner, all day. Myself & Grant never left each others sides (except to wee of course) I was told this sooo much and I’m so glad we listened. We experienced every part of the day as one, every giggle, conversation and even, every tear. We even stepped away during a gap in our day & had some time just us on our balcony. I would 100% recommend sneaking off together, to take a few moments to absorb the day and maybe even raise a private toast together.

2. Have snacks in the party morning prep rooms. Have juices, water, (add lots of fizz here as needed), pastries, oat bars and fruits for people to nibble on, as they go. With all of the chaos people forget to eat, little and often is great on a nervous tummy as apposed to a big meal. It’s nice to keep it light, openly available for all, ready to grab snacks.

3. Have an open and airy getting ready environment, if possible. The bigger and brighter, the better. This will mean it will be easier to fit everyone in, without being on top of one another. Also the better the lighting and clearer the room, the better the pictures. In the bridal prep room, once the hair appliances go on and the hair spray get going, it gets very heavy in there, very quick, so have lots of ventilation to keep it light and breezy. On our big day, I had all of the balcony doors open, it literally felt and looked like a summers day, getting ready looking out onto the beautiful calm sea.

4. Do not sweat the small stuff OR let anything ruin your big day and the days leading up to it. Goodness me, there were quite a few little things that didn’t go to plan on our day. Literally, our tyre burst on the motorway with a car full of wedding stuff and 3 kids including a 4 week old in the car (funny now, was madness at the time, like- what are the chances). Even with everything that didn't quite go to plan, I wouldn’t change a second of it & I genuinely didn’t care by the night before the wedding. I left it all in that day and just was in ore, ready for the magic that was to come. That's a big thing, leave anything that happened that upset or stressed you behind on the wedding day and just enjoy every moment of it, nothing can spoil this for you.

5. Take selfies, maybe even polaroids. Whilst on our balcony we got a few cheeky selfies and some on my instax camera, I really love these so much. They are a cute different prospective of the day. Not as polished and shiny, These will just be yours to keep.

6. It's quite usual for the bride and her bridal party to have getting ready fun pictures, but my suggestion is, do the same for your partner too. I had a right giggle looking back at Grant and his groomsmens, backstreet boy like photoshoot when the pictures came back. They all looked like they had such a good time and these pictures are real keepsakes for them as they don't often get group photos.

7. Walk to somewhere picturesque. Brighton band stand was a walk away from our venue, but oh my, when I received the professional photos and video back, taking that long walk up the seafront (even with the aching little trotters) was well worth it. The images were umogest my favourites of the whole day. I can't wait to have them blown up and displayed in our home. The images at the band stand, are so dramatic and something a little different to the usual, with the venue in the background.

8. Have fun, laugh and smile. Don’t worry about anything! In all of our photographs we are giggling and smiling from ear to ear. It really does sum up the day. Even in my favourite picture I'm doing the 'ugly laugh', something I'd usually delete a picture for. This is your day, no one else’s opinions or actions matter today. This is your time. The day absolutely flys by and almost doesn’t feel real so don’t waste but a second of it on anything negative 🤍

9. If it's possible, get away straight after the wedding. We had to move our 'big honeymoon' because of my treatment, but Grant suprised me and booked 5 days away, travelling, throughout the UK straight after the wedding. The wedding was on Sunday, we came home on the Monday evening, opened all of our cards and things and the next morning headed off. We went to Manchester first, staying at the stunning, Hotel Gotham and then onto Edingburgh, staying for two nights at the hotel we had been staying with at the time we got engaged there, some years ago. The final few days we spent in the Lake District before heading home. This trip really kept us in our little bubble and was just so perfect.

There were so many moments on our day when we both forgot that there were 90 guests surrounding us, it was like everything disappeared. Even with some things not being exactly as I planned, it was perfection.

Must Haves (What made OUR day)

1. Decor was a huge thing for me, I wanted it to be beautiful and feel really magical. This was my best decision for sure. Everyone complimented how beautiful everything was - I couldn't fault a single thing. I kept the blossom trees even with being a winter wedding in the end and intoduced a new little theme to tie them back in. I had a sign saying

'Bringing back the spring sights, we all missed during the last few years. May these sights—spring new hope' , I thought that was super fitting for us at the time too, with everything going on with my health.

(All decor- Diamond Lush Events - @diamondlushevents on instagram)

2. The attire. I loved my wedding dress (let me wear it again, pleasssee), I tried on 20 dresses before finding 'the one'. I did a whole article in the Bridal Buyer magazine about my dress buying experience for anyone who's interested, I will link at the bottom of blog. I've never been confident or liked myself in anything I've ever worn, but in this dress, I felt beautiful. I had a custom overskirt made and wore this during the ceremony, for the photos and then wore my fishtail dress alone for the evening reception. It was like having two dresses, princess by day, mermaid by night. I also absolutely adored my bridesmaids dresses. All the ladies looked incredible, the dresses suited them all so well—so flattering in style. I loved the beading detail and colour. The dresses brought in hints of my 1920s styling and looked gorgeous when they caught the sun and moody lighting on the evening. The ladies are all different, ages, shapes and sizes and I feel the dress just complimented everyone. Grant chose his own suit and for all of the grooms men + for the father of the bride and man of honour. These were something I also wouldn't have changed for anything else, the style and colour was just perfect, they all looked so smart and comfortable.

(Dresses- Silk Fred 'Keeva' available in various colours)

3. Our Singers, This was a luxury we almost didn't have, I added this beautiful duo after our first postponement. I can honestly say the day would not have been what it was, without them. We had a male and female duet (actually a newly engaged couple themselves), they honestly set the whole atmosphere for the whole day. Everyone loved them, the music was so personal and emotive. Our singers sang the walking down the aisle song, signing of the register music and the wedding exit song. They then sang the whole way through our reception drinks/canapés whilst we had photos taken and then for the duration of the sit down meal. They then stuck around and sang beautifully, our first dance song, aswell as the song for the father and daughter dance. It honestly was mesmerising, so many onlookers cried at how emotional the music made these special moments. (Soph & Simon- On instagram @sophandsimon)

What would I change, what wouldn't have been missed?

I personally wouldn't change anything about our day but there are a few things looking back that may have been an unnecessary cost really and definitely worth mentioning for those on the fence.

1. Flowers, of course much of our decor was artificial flowers (blossom trees etc) but for my, the bridesmaids and the flower girls bouquets, button holes and corsages, we had real flowers. I had all roses, white for myself and Grant and a very slight blush for the others. Sadly, it was very quickly obvious the flowers had been prepared a little too far ahead of time, by the florist. A lot of people, including another florist at the venue pointed this out. Sadly by just after the ceremony, (about 40 minutes after taking out of water) my flowers were visibly dying. The button holes and corsages were brown and many petals had fallen off by the hour out of water mark, so much so, most people took them off. It was a real shame, but at the time of course, I didn't care. In heighnsight though I think, although beautiful, artificial would have been so much more cost effective and have lasted longer.

(Bouquet, 4o minutes after taking out of water)

2. Cake, our cake was stunning and I absolutely wouldn't have not had it, it was a real feature. But, did we need it to be 3 tiers? Absolutely not. Even with 90 guests, the cake was barely touched. The cake was cut and served with the evening food (Fish & chips, ice cream and candy floss) I even provided individual cake boxes but still not even one tier was eaten. We still have a whole tier in our freezer. So if you're trying to cut costs, this is definitely an area worth looking into.

Your big day will be amazing! Without doubt, it will be everything you've ever dreamt of, and more! Take in every second, as it's true what they say, it literally goes in the blink of an eye. When they say it's the best day of your life, it's true. That nervous, tummy, butterfly anxiety, turns into sheer exhilaration. It's your day, make the most of it, cry, drink, dance, smile, even ugly laugh. I hope your day is as amazing as you dreamt it to be..


Venue: The Grand Brighton

Photography : Emma May Weddings & To the moon and back

Decor: Diamond Lush events

Music- Soph and Simon

Dress- Ronald Joyce 'Cleo' - Overskirt and dress - Lula Ann Bridal

Suits - Duncan James (Walsall)

Dress buying article (Page 125)

Kelly xoxo