Bride Vs Groom » Wedding Experiences & Guidance for the Bride & Groom

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Once upon a time the words “humanist ceremony” seemed to court many a raised eyebrow and hushed conversations with words like “hippy” and “strange beliefs” right up until the moment anyone actually attended one, at which point the words bandied around changed to “lovely”, “special” and “cool”. Humanist ceremonies are definitely on the rise, with more and more couples finding humanist ceremonies to give them the flexibility they crave on their wedding day. But do humanist ceremonies really offer more than a perhaps more orthodox civil ceremony and which is right for you? Our resident expert debaters decided to go head to head, Humanist Ceremony Vs Civil Ceremony,


In the Red Corner, she’s all about the bride and groom focussing on expressing their personalities, representing the humanist ceremony, it’s Dom “The Tog Bride”.

In the Blue Corner, as a filmmaker he’s experienced all kinds of wedding ceremonies but this time representing the civil ceremony, it’s Matt “The Gormless Groom”.


Humanist ceremony

Dom: Humanist ceremonies are so relaxed and personal to the couple whereas aside from the readings civil ceremonies are much more regimented and offer little flexibility to adjust to your specific desires

Matt: Civil ceremonies may have to include certain wording but you can add your own readings and often your own vows on top of those words that make up the legal contract.

Dom: At a civil ceremony you may not have even met the person leading the ceremony beforehand, whereas with a humanist ceremony you could have a friend or someone important to you which can make it even more special.

Matt: Humanist ceremonies are not legally binding so you need to complete the legal parts of the ceremony separately and that is the point when you will technically be married, whereas the civil ceremony is the actual legally binding ceremony meaning that you truly become husband and wife there and then.

Dom: The wording for civil ceremonies is very inflexible with specific wording having to be used for legal reasons even when not necessarily completely appropriate. For example until the law changes next year words along the lines of “marriage is the union between one man and one woman” still have to be used rather than between “two people” which may be offensive to any same sex couples attending your wedding.

Matt: Humanist ceremonies are an awful lot of work as you need to plan and write the entire ceremony from scratch. Civil ceremonies have a set structure which is proven to work and provide a good flow through the ceremony and require a lot less work on your part.

Dom: But the fact that you can plan and write it all yourself is a huge selling point of the humanist ceremony – everything that is said and done during the ceremony can be personal to you, from the vows to the stories the officiant tells during the ceremony – it’s so special for the Bride and Groom and much more entertaining for all the guests too!

Matt: With a civil ceremony you can have the full signing of the register and take away your marriage certificate signed on the day of the actual wedding.

Dom: Registrars are very busy people and will generally be doing more than one wedding per day, often several, and consequently sometimes put a big time restriction on your wedding and if running late even rush through the ceremony so that they’re not late for their next appointment. With a humanist ceremony you know you have the full attention of the person leading the ceremony and don’t have to be so concerned about time restrictions as no-one is waiting to rush off.

Matt: Having a unique wedding is great, but sometimes some of the traditions can help it to feel more special. Ceremonies are ritual and for some it’s important that the wording is all the same – that you and the registrar are saying the same words that your parents spoke before you and their parents before them.

So those are our thoughts but where do you stand on this debate? Register your vote on our poll or leave a comment to join the debate!

Humanist Ceremony Vs Civil Ceremony
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Bored of the traditional wedding cake? Lucky for you traditional is far from the only option! So today we’d like to share a great little graphic from Peter Edwards Photography with one or two ideas on hoe you can do things just a little bit differently. Now excuse me, I’ve got to go find myself some shots of cake!!


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Yesterday we featured a post all about how to ensure you have your venue just right and today we’d like to investigate another important aspect of the day: the Menu! Food and drink form a huge part of any wedding day, taking centre stage at the reception and the menu you serve can be as much a part of the overall style of your day as any piece of decoration or clothing. But enough from us, we’ll hand you over to a real expert in the form of Executive Head Chef Ross Cook from Tregenna Castle Resort.

Tregenna Castle Hotel

Creating the Perfect Wedding Menu

By Ross Cook, Executive Head Chef at Tregenna Castle Resort.

‘The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach’

When planning the perfect wedding day, the presence of food is more influential than people sometimes realise. The design of the wedding cake alone will become a talking point amongst guests for years to come.

The food itself forms part of the centrepiece at a wedding reception, not just for the pleasure it delivers, but also for its ability to bring together guests from either side as they celebrate the union of the bride and groom. Therefore, a good menu is key to shaping the memory you hope will last a lifetime, and every bride wants her wedding day to be the one that everybody remembers.

To create the perfect wedding menu, be unique in your offering and remember that there’s so much more to wedding food than chicken and potatoes. Spice up your reception with one of these unique ideas:

  • Onsite fish and chip van – the nation’s favourite, traditional in the making and yet completely unique in its delivery.
  • Steak ‘n’ Chips – impress your guests with a chef cooking steaks to personal preference right in front of their eyes.
  • ‘Shrink it down’ – serving mini versions of your favourite meals can be more impressive than their full-sized counterparts.
  • ‘The Crab Shack’  – invite your guests to experience the fruits of the sea with local delicacies bought in straight from the harbour.

Important pointers to consider before finalising your wedding menu:

  1. Guests with dietary requirements – vegetarians, vegans or guests with gluten and dairy free intolerances will require separate menu options.
  1. Children attending the reception – depending on the type of dishes you choose, provide a child-friendly option.
  1. Seasonality and availability of ingredients – this will determine the price of a menu depending on accessibility.
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Finding your perfect wedding venue can be something of an arduous task.  Whilst in a simple world we always imagine walking through the door, falling instantly in love with a venue and creating your wedding exactly the way you always dreamed it’s not always as simple as that. There are all kinds of logistical issues to consider and questions to be asked, so to help you along the way we invited venue expert Zeenat Sabur from The City Rooms to share a little advice on the kinds of questions you need to be asking your potential new wedding venue…Ballroom 1

The venue is the most important planning aspect of your big day (well, along with the dress), as well as the perfect location and being within budget there is so much more you will want to consider but may not think of at the time of booking.  Here is a round-up of ten questions to ask the venue in question before signing on the dotted line:

Is it an exclusive use venue?

If another couple getting married at the same venue as you on the same day as you is a deal breaker then you will want to know about this before booking. Exclusive use will mean the whole venue is yours for the entire day of your wedding.

How many bedrooms are available?

This will be vitally important for any guests travelling a significant distance to be a part of your big day.  Often when a venue doesn’t have sufficient bedrooms available it may have be able to offer reduced rates at a nearby hotel.

Will my wedding co-ordinator be present on the day?

Consider whether the wedding coordinator will be present on the day of your wedding. It is important to have consistency in terms of who you deal with. Dealing with one person for the menu, another for layouts and décor and then someone else on the day of your wedding sometimes isn’t ideal and it can make such a difference to have just one person who will look after all your needs. The level of familiarity you build up with just one coordinator who is also on hand on your big day can be so reassuring and make all the difference on the day. The flexibility of the coordinator in terms of the days and times he or she can meet with you is also important as you will be very busy in the run up to your big day and may need to fit in evening or weekend meetings, ask about this at your initial meeting.

Is there an in-house chef and can food be tailored to our specifications?

It can be so much easier to have control over your menu with an in-house chef and they will usually be more likely to tweak the menu and make the food exactly as you like. Quite often couples may want to serve a family recipe or a very specific cultural dish and it’s important to know before booking that this is possible.

Carly 2 - cropped

Is the venue accessible for disabled guests?

You may assume that all venues in the 21st century would be completely accessible for all, but unfortunately many listed buildings are not completely accessible. Before booking make sure you find out whether there will be access for all to the function rooms you intend on using.

When can my vendors arrive for set-up?

Many exclusive use venues will allow access as early as possible on the day of the wedding, or perhaps even the night before, for florists, decorators and any other suppliers to set up, but be sure to enquire about this before booking. Double check timings with suppliers too, especially if there is a particular supplier you have your heart set on.

Is there adequate parking?

This is something you definitely need to ask about, especially with city centre venues whch may have limited on-site parking. Many will have a partnership with a nearby car park, but this will be super important for your guests.


This seems a very obvious question to ask but often it is the obvious that is overlooked. If you’re planning a wedding day for 300 guests and you fall in love with a venue that only holds a maximum of 200 guests, you’re going to face a pretty tough choice. Also, ask about whether the venue has a minimum number of guests it will require you to book for.

Are there any planned renovation works between the time you view and your wedding date?

When you go for your show-around look around and note the up-keep of the venue. Is there anything you think needs maintenance work? Make sure you ask if there’s anything you pick up on – the venue may be planning to make these changes between your viewing and wedding day but it is useful to know as little things really do make a difference.

Check out the toilets

Finally, this isn’t a question but the state and presentation of the toilets will tell you a lot about the pride the venue takes in upkeep of its facilities. So ask to pop to the bathroom and check them out!

Ultimately finding the venue where you will begin married life with the man/woman of your dreams and will declare your love for one another in front of your friends and family should be an exciting and happy experience. So above all, enjoy and good luck!


Author bio:

Zeenat is part of the team at wedding venue The City Rooms ( in the heart of Leicester City Centre. She has a multitude of experience in assisting couples plan their big day, is obsessed with peonies and Jenny Packham dresses and understands the importance of practicality when planning a wedding.

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Paddington_Bear_Small_DogIt’s been a little while since we last updated you on the self-declared most important member of team Bride Vs Groom: Small Dog. We’re assured by a small yet reliable source that the Small Dog known also as Paddington not being the centre of attention at all times is a crime punishable by bath time and so we thought we’d best let you know what he’s been up to.

It’s been a strange old week for Paddington; firstly he was thrilled to see people unexpectedly arrive with suitcases – a sure sign of more attention for a few days, but then bitterly disappointed at the arrival of more suitcases downstairs followed swiftly by the disappearance of more people than had arrived in the first place. In fact for one frankly terrifying moment it looked to all the world like Matt, AKA “The Target”, (Paddington has been watching too many episodes of “Spooks” this week) was going to be the only one left, a fate surely worse than vets! Whilst of course Small Dog would certainly welcome the opportunity to be alone with The Target and no other witnesses, the fact that suitcases were involved meant they could be away for several days and he needed somebody to give him constant attention even if that somebody was to be killed at the earliest possible opportunity after someone useful’s return.

Fortunately for our four legged friend though it turned out that his Dom wasn’t going anywhere, except perhaps for a little walk with him in that cold white stuff that his paws always got stuck in and that isn’t as tasty as it looks no matter how much of it you eat (although the yellower variety does have a certain kick to it). Being a lap dog rather than a lapland dog he was rather more keen on the idea of a roaring fire and comfy sofa, but as that particular idea carried with it the prospect once again of Matt’s company he reluctantly agreed.


You remember that scene where Bambi tries to walk on the ice? Imagine a shorter legged protagonist and you’re pretty much there! Soon the little Dog was running and sliding and spinning and barking to his heart’s content, chasing snowballs and, of course, making use of his newly found blank canvas to assert his ownership over the streets as only dogs can (or at least as only dogs generally do, thankfully!)

But after a little adventure in the snow and returning to see Matt and Dom share a warm embrace, now it’s time for Small Dog to return to his more accustomed position: plotting Matt’s downfall.

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Best-UK-Wedding-Photographer-13The strange thing about weddings is that you can take even the most simple of scenes and, given the right timing, can sometimes see an amazing moment unfold in front of you, particularly when animals get involved!
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