How To Navigate The Top 5 Wedding Planning Minefields

Wedding Place Setting

Throughout our years of experience in planning weddings, we’ve learnt a thing or two about navigating the various ‘etiquette issues’ that have the potential to cause family and friend fallouts on the big day. By fact that Rockbeare Manor is an exclusive wedding venue deep in the Devon countryside means you have so much freedom in how you want your wedding day that ultimately, we believe, this can help ease pressures to do things a certain way.

However for those issues that a bride and groom struggle with here’s our advice on how to manage them:

  1. Guest list

One of the first steps for any newly engaged couple is to plan the guest list. This in itself is a minefield, as you have to find the balance between inviting every acquaintance that you both know, because you feel duty bound to do so, and only inviting the people who you really want to be there. An easy way to simplify your guest list is to consider if you are likely to share a future relationship with the person in mind? Or perhaps ask yourself hypothetically if you would happily take them out to dinner – if the answer is yes then they may well be ones to go on the invite list.

A tactic we see many couples adopt is to make a provisional guest list nice and early in the planning of your wedding which can then be revisited later down the line.  It’s really important when choosing a venue to check that the dining capacity fits in with your potential guest numbers. At Rockbeare Manor we can host wedding breakfasts for 50 to 160 guests in our beautiful Ballroom which gives you lots of flexibility to have a guest list which evolves over time.  Final numbers don’t need to be confirmed until 4 weeks before the day itself.

  1. Children

Another important aspect to consider is whether you want to make your ceremony or even your wedding a child-free zone. It’s important to remember, no matter how many people protest, that it’s your decision.

There are ups and downs to consider with having children present. They can be very cute in photos and liven up the dance floor in the evening, however some may feel them to be a distraction at the wrong times throughout the day. If you do not want children present it’s important to let your guests know as early as possible so that they can make arrangements, and it is equally important to hold your ground if that’s what you would prefer for your wedding.  

However, for those couples that do invite children we’d suggest thinking about how to make their day fun too – a wedding is a long day, and so it’s a great idea to provide some activities for the children such as garden games, colouring books, and activity packs to keep them occupied. We can also put you in touch with children’s entertainers and event crèche’s.  

Whatever you decide, Rockbeare Manor is accommodating either way.

  1. Social Media

We’re now better connected than ever before due to social media. If you want your wedding to be social media free then it’s not unreasonable to ask your guests to refrain from posting pictures or other content about your wedding online until after the celebrations have ended. But if you like the idea of embracing social media you could actively encourage your guests to post online content about your wedding. Why not specify a personal hashtag that is for your wedding only?

Rockbeare Manor has WIFI throughout our venue in case you prefer the latter option.   

  1. Money for gifts

There’s some debate over whether it is acceptable to ask your guests for money instead of a more traditional wedding gift. And the trend of asking for money is on the increase with the average age of couples marrying now at 32 years old.

What research suggests is that wedding guests are more open to giving money as a gift if it has a clear goal attached, such as going towards a honeymoon or a significant item. If you’re going to ask your guests for money towards your honeymoon, then it may be a good idea to give them an idea of where you plan to go or the name of the travel agent you are going with so that they can purchase travel vouchers for you.

  1. Table plans

Arguably the most socially stressful part of a wedding because of course you want everyone to have a blast, and avoid any possible tension between guests that may not get on.

The traditional rule of thumb is to sit close family and friends nearest to the top table, with couples sat together and, if children are present, a children’s table where they can all sit together.

But, if having a top table is too complicated or causing worry (usually due to separated parents) don’t feel that you have got to have one.  Why not have ‘sweetheart table’ with just the two of you, or, sit with your bridesmaids and ushers and ask your parents to each host other tables. It’s your day, and you can think creatively about how to mix up guests based on common interests, geography and family branches.

At Rockbeare Manor we understand how challenging planning a wedding can be, and we are here to help and support you to achieve the day that you’ve always envisaged. Ultimately, one of the best things about Rockbeare Manor being an exclusive wedding venue in Devon is that the events team will work with you to create a day that is as individual as you both are.

Autumn & Winter Weddings

‘What date shall we get married?’ is one of the first questions for any couple once the all important question has been ‘popped’. It’s something that is also bound to influence the type of venue that you choose for your Devon wedding.

Everyone is different, perhaps you’ve always dreamt of a beach wedding in the height of the summer, or a marquee perched on top of a hill-top somewhere with an amazing view, but if you are unsure, it’s well worth exploring the idea of an autumn or winter wedding – and we’ve a feeling you won’t look back!

In autumn you get a magnificent and ever-changing backdrop, full of the rich colours that this time of year brings. At Rockbeare Manor in Devon, we are spoilt by the acres beyond acres of listed parkland that surround us, and the long established trees of many varieties which add to the splendour of the landscape where we’re situated in the beautiful South West.  Then there’s Winter – crisp frosty mornings (and maybe even snow!) can create such a magical feeling among you and your guests, and your photographer will relish every opportunity to capture your day in an altogether different way leaving you with amazing memories.

Rockbeare Manor Devon, lake wedding venue

The lake at Rockbeare Manor, near Exeter, Devon.

 

Even if the weather isn’t entirely behaving it would be very rare not to be able to capture some images outside and a beautiful bridal umbrella is going to compliment any exterior shot.  But, there is always inside and that’s where Rockbeare Manor comes into it’s own…roaring fires, glowing candlelight, always warm and welcoming. Very importantly, the house flows beautifully so there is plenty of room to host the various elements of your day, using the principle rooms, without any uncomfortable turn-arounds.  Your civil ceremony, drinks reception and wedding breakfast will all flow seamlessly.

 

Wedding in the rain

Photography by www.photographybyjd-weddings.co.uk

 

One of our most striking, but incredibly serene rooms can seat up to 100 guests for a ceremony – with magnificent original crystal chandelier and ornate cornicing throughout.  As is the case throughout the whole house, the views from this room are immense, and  the light that pours through the windows even on an overcast day still ceases to amaze us.

 

Ceremony hall Rockbeare Manor

Photography by www.hollycollingsphotography.com

 

 

And don’t forget the fantastic winter accessories that you can use to style your day…beautiful cosy blankets displayed for your guests to use, hurricane lanterns surrounded by ferns and berries, twinkling lights that can be incorporated into your table centres and around the venue…and for the Bride how about a feather or fur bolero partnered with a stylish woollen suit for the Groom.  The list really does go on but some of our favourite ideas are here on our Pinterest page.

 

Wedding cake winter autumn

Photography by www.photographybyjd-weddings.co.uk

We still have some wonderful dates available throughout the autumn and winter season in 2016/17 so we’d love to talk to you more about how your wedding day could be at Rockbeare Manor. Please do let us know if we can be of any help on 01392 797 444 or take a look at our website www.rockbearemanor.co.uk.

 

P.s. Keep an eye out for our next blog which will introduce one of the dedicated members of our team…