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We know how hard it can be when you start planning your big day. You’re often starting with a blank sheet of paper, hoping to make your wedding day stick positively in the minds of all your family and friends for years to come. So, where to start…?!

We’ve asked some of Dorset’s leading wedding suppliers for their top tips and trends for weddings in Dorset in 2018. We hope that you’ll be inspired by some of these, all of which will help make your special day at our Dorset wedding venue a day to remember. Don’t forget that you can meet these suppliers (and many more) at our regular wedding open days (for 2018, we are hosting these on Sunday 15th April and Sunday 14th October: 11am to 3pm).

“Make sure you choose food that best represents you as a couple. Our seasonal menus use the best local ingredients and give you a fabulous amount of choice when choosing your wedding breakfast menu. Don’t forget that you could opt for something a little less formal if you prefer – think gourmet hog roast or BBQ, Afternoon Tea or even sharing tapas and Paella. Finally, the current trends also point to modern takes on popular classic dishes (we have our very own versions of Baked Alaska, Beef Wellington, Limoncello Drizzle to name a few!) Beales Gourmet Catering, proud managers of The Italian Villa

“Remember that your chosen wedding rings are the one thing that you will see every day after the wedding, therefore be sure when planning your wedding budget to include these as a priority.  Most wedding rings are hand made to order especially for you so plan to purchase your wedding rings well in advance of your wedding date.” – Forum Jewellers

“With as much as 4-5 hours at the average wedding when there isn’t much going on, I highly recommend booking some entertainment to break the ice between guests, giving them some genuine talking points and create a light-hearted and fun atmosphere. I’d ensure that there aren’t any lulls on your big day and that your wedding is spoken about for years to come. Also, be sure to contact the suppliers you want ASAP to avoid disappointment.” Chris Piercy, professional magician, mind reader and hypnotist

“To keep any children guests occupied, have something fun in place to entertain them like a crèche, a craft table or activity packs. Above all things keep them FED!” The Italian Villa have dedicated children’s menus and water & cordial stations to keep the little ones looked after throughout the whole day. The Wedding Crécherz

“Make the most of your engagement photo shoot. Most wedding photographers will offer this pre-wedding session and it’s a great way to get to know your photographer and get used to being in front of the camera. You’ll also get some special photos of the two of you which can be used on your wedding day. Engagement shots work really well on our ‘Personalised Photo Wedding Guestbook Puzzle’ – a wonderful keepsake and unique alternative to a traditional wedding guestbook, made to order in our workshop in the New Forest.” – Create Gift Love

“50 Shades of Green!” For many years wedding flowers seemed to resist trends and changing fashions. But now, thanks to the use of social media, a new look can become a ‘must have’ within days as brides-to-be search, share and ‘like’ florists’ designs from all over the world.

This year’s fashion flower colour is predicted to be ‘Ultra Violet’ but we’re sure that PARKWOOD Brides will be following a much more individual and subtle colour choice for their nuptials – shades of green and grey. Throughout 2017 we started to see a much more relaxed style, larger foliage bouquet with texture and style with just a few, possibly exotic, flowers or plants added for good measure.

Pictured here we have Georgina & Waldemar and their winter themed wedding at the Italian Villa. White protea from South Africa were complemented by choice exotic and temperate foliage – and an English mistletoe kissing bower of course.” Parkwood Florists

“Brides, don’t leave it too late to try dresses on! Wedding dresses generally take 5-6 months to order in, and fittings can take up to 8 weeks before the wedding. We always have sale dresses on our rail which we can alter straight away and we have been known to provide quite a few last minute dresses for short notice weddings. Because we undertake all of our own alterations in-house we can work around this the best way we can but through the height of summer it is always best to be as organised as you can.

As for suits …the same really.  Please Gents, don’t leave it to the last minute.  We do keep all of our own stock on site and we do our own alterations but sometimes we do have to order in special sizes and this can sometimes take a little bit more time.” Wedding Time Bridal Salon and Men’s Formal Wear

“My advice for all my bride and bridegrooms will be to absorb and enjoy all of your special day, without worrying as the day will go extremely quickly. Be sure to have the day that YOU both want, and don’t worry about trying to accommodate everyone else” Michael Judd Professional Toastmaster

“Have live music, it gives a focal point and something to listen to while your guests are waiting for the wedding to begin and afterwards at various times during your special day. A piano played during your Wedding Breakfast is a delightful accompaniment to your first meal together as a married couple.” Music for Occasions

“Our best tip is to look at all styles of vehicles for your wedding. Take into account the time of year in relation to vintage cars with no heating.  Also, many photographers prefer cars that are not white or cream as these sometimes can make the dress disappear in photographs, thus not getting any definition on the dress, or even a brighter white or cream can make a dress look dull.” RR Elite Wedding Cars

“You probably know your song for your first dance, but have you chosen songs for your ceremony? These will be cherished in years to come when you look back on your day. My absolute favourite part of a wedding is the ceremony entrance. With all the emotions of this moment, the seconds will feel longer, and you may want to walk a little faster than planned. So, make sure you practice walking at a slow pace to your chosen entrance song before the day. Take a breath, think “nice and slow”, and you will be even more in the moment.” Skylark Acoustic

“For 2018/2019 we are seeing a move from structured flowers to natural, looser designs that include a dominance of fresh mixed greenery with eucalyptus varieties being a popular choice not only for it scent but for the lightness, structure and colour. We love populus – a rounded leaf that adds trails to hand-tied design – and are loving at the moment the trails of ribbons from the handles of bouquets creating a whimsical look and feel to bridal bouquets.

Pops of metallics mixed with this Bohemian style are also still featuring strongly with rose gold accessories being used as part of table centre designs.

Our favourite flower at the moment is blushing bride – a mini protea that suits the trends for this year.” Simply Flower

“Get the party started with live musicians alongside a DJ. It’s often less expensive than a band and works well in a compact space. It’s the perfect way to get all your guests up on the dancefloor, and people will talk about it for years to come!” Daze Entertainment

“’With bright colours and pantone colour of the year for 2018 being ‘ultra violet’, there is a surge in brights and more colour to wedding themes.  I would choose wisely and have accents of your chosen colour running through your wedding as well as the wedding cake.  This will make your wedding timeless and elegant and not over-powering. The key is to be clever with colour and have accents throughout.  You will look back on years to come ant not feel like you’re wedding was the latest fad or trend which looks dated. The cake image shows a timeless wedding cake with clever pops of colour from the florist (Hillview Flowers)” Hayley Elizabeth Cake Design

The latest fashions and trends for 2018 are now emerging and whether brides-to-be are going for boho-chic, romantic, or full-on glamorous, Oxana Ruckhaber of the award-winning bridal boutique Minster Designs, has the top trends to keep in mind when planning a 2018 wedding look.

“A wonderful example of this is a dress by internationally acclaimed designer Martina Liana: a swirling train gives an enchanting, picture-book princess look, perfect for a romantic day; remove it to create a sophisticated satin sheath dress which will wow your party guests. Intricate lace cap sleeves and a glamorous cut-out back mean this dress is on-trend in every way.”

“It can be a light and diaphanous deluxe dupiano silk, a rustling silk taffeta or a much heavier Mikado silk which is ideal for more structured dresses and great for cool weather weddings; similarly, lace is a perennial favourite both as the main fabric and as decoration. Soft French lace with its traditional patterns is as bewitching as ever and graphic lace with its bold, modern shapes give the fabric an edgier up-to-the-minute look.”

(For Bridesmaids dresses by Sorella Vita)  Do you dream of having a mix-and-match bridal party but don’t know where to start? Well, fear not! Having the mix-and-match look is easier than you might think. First,  choose the theme, setting, and mood you want to evoke at your wedding and go from there.) Minster Designs

Are you planning your dream wedding? Want to hire the best wedding venue in Dorset? Looking for a choice of bespoke wedding packages tailored to suit your needs? Look no further, contact The Italian Villa today! To book a viewing at our multi-award winning wedding venue call 01202 816074 or email info@the-italian-villa.co.uk