Congratulations on your decision to get married!
Now the question is where do you start?
Try asking yourself:
Now the question is where do you start?
Try asking yourself:
When do you want to get married?
The time of year and the day of the week that you choose to get married will have a huge impact on how you plan your wedding day. Depending on what time of year and whether you are having a midweek or weekend wedding may vary the price you have to pay.
How many people do you wish to invite to the Ceremony, Wedding Breakfast and Evening Party?
Selden Barns, in line with most ‘exclusive use’ venues charge a fixed amount for the day and then catering, etc is per guest.
The civil ceremony or church wedding will be the same price for however many attend but the pre-reception drinks & canapes followed by the wedding breakfast are both charged by numbers of guests attending.
The evening buffet is usually inexpensive being Hog Roast, Bacon rolls or Fish Finger sandwiches so the fewer you can invite to the day and the more you can invite to the evening ‘do’ will bring costs down significantly.
Do you want to get married in a church or have a civil wedding?
Whether you know the answer to this or not, we will help you to understand the requirements and procedures for both types of wedding.
If your chosen date is available at Selden Barns, you may wish to provisionally book it prior to speaking to the Church or Registrars Office to prevent any disappointment.
Should you wish to choose a religious ceremony, there are several churches located in surrounding villages to Selden Barns that may be able to assist you. If you live outside of the parish, they may have certain criteria they need you to meet prior to accepting to conduct your ceremony.
Selden Barns is approved by West Sussex County Council as a venue for Civil Marriage/ Partnership. Should you choose a civil ceremony, you will need to contact WSCC Registrars Office directly to make registrar arrangements. They will supply you with the information necessary to satisfy all the necessary legal requirements.
Music, whether it be recorded or live musicians (String quartet, harpist, pianist, piper), can really add to the atmosphere of the wedding ceremony. Additionally, asking a close friend or family member to read a poem or extract from a book can be a lovely way to personalise the service.
A civil ceremony is secular therefore no religious content is allowed for the duration of the ceremony. You should check with the Registrars as to the suitability of your music and readings/ poems in advance to avoid disappointment.
The three pieces of music need to be chosen for the following:
In our ceremony room, we have a Bluetooth enabled speaker suitable for connection to your iPhone or other personal music systems.
The Seating Plan
Consideration will be necessary as to whether you wish to have a traditional straight or more informal round Top Table; both have advantages and disadvantages!
The straight Top Table allows guests to see the Bride and Groom and their parents easily. This also works well for the Top Table guests as they feel more part of the event and are able to communicate more easily with guests.
The round Top Table will assist those who prefer a little less formality, or people who have family structures that do not conform to the traditional table layout.
The following diagram outlines the “Traditional” format for Top Table. Remember it is your day and you should locate people as you wish. (We have had from 2 to 19 top table guests at our events depending on their particular family arrangements so don’t think you have to conform to the regular 8 persons!)
Away from the Top Table guests traditionally sit at round tables, with the Bride and Grooms families positioned closest to the Top Table, whilst friends of the Bride and Groom tend to be positioned slightly further back.
The following two diagrams outline how our average numbers of 100 are accommodated with either option but we can place up to 230 people seated.
The Receiving Line
Traditionally, the Bride and Groom and both sets of parents greet the remaining friends and family as they enter the room for the Wedding Breakfast.
This gives an excellent opportunity, particularly for the Bride and Groom to speak to all their guests at least once during the day. This formality is once again optional as you should consider the time it takes within the schedule of your day.
More and more couples break from tradition now and take a turn round all the tables of guests during the meal talking to everyone.
The Wedding Breakfast
When we have settled all the guests at their tables and they’ve cleared the bar, we ask the Best Man to request everybody stand to receive the Bride and Groom.
The Bride and Groom will then take their places at the top table. Everybody will be seated so the wedding breakfast can be served.
During this time, background music can be played to help your guests relax.
There are traditionally three wedding speeches conducted in the following order
The speeches will usually start at the end of the meal or between the main course and dessert, before which the staff will deliver a flute of bubbly to each guest. The wedding coordinator will prompt the Father of the Bride if needed:
The Bride’s Father, a relative or close family friend stands to say a few words about the Bride and to welcome the Groom into the family. The speech should be concluded with a toast to the “The Bride and Groom”.
The Groom replies on behalf of his wife and himself, thanking all guests for attending and for all the gifts and cards they have received. He should also include special thanks to any guests that may have travelled some distance, i.e. from abroad. Thanks must also go to the Parents, Bridesmaids, Pageboys, Best Man and Ushers for their contributions to the day; not to forget to thank his wife for turning up looking so wonderful, and of course for marrying him! The Groom may, at this point, wish to propose a toast to the Bride.
When thanking the relevant persons, should the Bride and Groom have gifts for them, they should be asked to make their way to the top table to receive it on behalf of them both. To conclude, the Groom should propose a toast to the Bridesmaids and Best Man. But first ….
Should the Bride wish to thank anybody personally now would be the time as she may wish to propose a personal toast.
The Best Man then thanks the Bride and Groom on behalf of the Bridesmaids and himself for asking them to be part of their special day and for the gifts they have received. He may then talk about the Groom’s younger years! Before closing his speech any emails/faxes may be read. Should you wish any cards to be read, it is advisable to have no more than six.
Finally, your Best Man should then propose a toast to the parents of the Bride and Groom.
When liaising with your speechmakers it is worth remembering that the most popular speakers are those with the shortest speech, i.e. no more than five minutes per person.
The Cutting of the Wedding Cake
Here at Selden Barns, we like to wait until the evening guests have arrived before the wedding cake is cut. This makes the evening guests feel as though they have come to a wedding, not just a party. Though traditionally, the Bride and Groom cut their wedding cake after the coffee has been served, we like to wait until around 7:45 pm and then proceed to the 1st dance!
The DJ or Best man will need to make an announcement that the Bride and Groom wish to cut their wedding cake and invite everybody and any photographers to come forward. After the symbolic cut, the cake is taken away and cut up for serving with evening food.
You will have to decide as to whether to have a live band, DJ or both! Please be aware that at Selden Barns a band is allowed, but we do have noise rules. Though they may provide earlier background music, the band or DJ will play for your 1st dance so begin choosing your personal favourite as soon as possible.
You need to bear in mind the following key factors:
Personal music preference for you and your guests. You are catering for a selection of tastes!
Availability and cost of a suitable live act. You don’t wish to pay too much, but pay too little and an empty dance floor may haunt you for the evening!
The plan to the right shows the room layout with a Disco. The DJ or Band will be at the end of the dance floor and as you can see there is no need to interrupt to clear the room. There is plenty of room for the tables and chairs to remain but some can be removed if required. Keep in mind the band may need 40 to 60 minutes to set up for the evening after speeches conclude.
Evening Party Room Plan
|Round Tables||Diameter 5ft 6inches (1.67 m)|
|Rectangular Tables||6ft x 2ft 6inches (1.8 m x 0.75 m)|
|Small Round Table / Cake Table||Diameter 3ft (0.9 m)|
|Banqueting Chairs – Chiavari
|Height – 89 cm
Width – 39 cm
Depth – 39 cm
Seat – 41 cm
The wedding favour custom originates from Italy. Wedding favours, traditionally called “Bomboniere” were made from five sugar-coated almonds gathered together in different “tulles” or “nets”. The almonds signified health, wealth, happiness, long-life and fertility, which were given by the Bride to all her female guests. The favour would be placed on guest’s tables and they would be kept as a keepsake, as a memory of the Wedding Day.
In the present day, a number of favour options such as personalised chocolates or biscuits are available from wedding suppliers. Some brides and grooms have been known to purchase Lottery Tickets as favours.
Wedding Guest Book
The guest book is an excellent idea as it can offer the Bride and Groom a written record of their wedding day, through the thoughts of their guests.
The photographer is as important as finding the right dress. What is the point of looking and feeling amazing if the photographer is unable to capture your mood? A professional Photographer will work with you to ensure that they capture the moments that will be most precious to you. You will need to consider points such as:
Small cheap “Fun Cameras” placed on each table with a polite note asking guests to capture memories of the day from a different perspective are an excellent idea.
Photobooths are now becoming very popular. They usually produce two copies so that one can be displayed in a guest book with a personal message from each guest.
You may also wish to have a videographer who will capture your day so that you can re-live it over and over. This is also a lovely way for anyone who isn’t able to attend to be able to be a part of it.
The role of the Wedding Coordinator on your wedding day?
Order of the wedding day
Here is our example Order of the Day which is more commonly used for civil ceremonies here at Selden Barns. If you have a church wedding, arriving here at the Barns from the church at 2:45 pm will ensure all other timings are accurate. A typical wedding can be outlined as follows:
Bridal party arrive at Selden Barns; Bride, Mother and Father of the Bride and Bridesmaids. The Bridal dressing suite will be available to get ready in. Beauticians / Hairdressers may also arrive at this time
Groom & Groomsmen arrive at Selden Barns and meet with the wedding coordinator
Groom, Groomsmen and Father of the Bride relax in the outside seating area or have a drink at the bar and welcome guests as they arrive. The photographer may choose to take some photographs at this stage.
Registrars arrive at Selden Barn
Bridal party arrive (if getting ready elsewhere) & are taken to The Bridal dressing suite
The Wedding Coordinator will invite the Groom & Best Man to see the Registrars, in the Ceremony Room, to run through ceremony details (10 minutes)
The Groom & Best Man will return to their guests.
The Wedding Coordinator will ask the Father of the Bride to join the Bride and the Registrars will come to see them, to run through ceremony details (10 minutes).
The Groom & Groomsmen to take their guests to be seated in the Ceremony Room. Ushers to help with seating guests
The Wedding Coordinator will then escort the Mother of the Bride to the Ceremony Room, where she will be walked down the aisle by a member of the wedding party (usher or chosen family member)
The Wedding Coordinator will then return to escort the Bride, Bridesmaids, and Father of the Bride to the Ceremony Room. The Bridal Party lines up outside the door, in the order of procession (Bridesmaids first).
The Wedding Coordinator will signal to the appointed person (usually an usher) to start the music and the Bridal Party enter the Ceremony Room. The ceremony usually lasts about 25 minutes depending on whether there are readings or songs sung. This will include the formal signing of the register.
Congratulations!! A confetti throw can be held outside the Ceremony Room which makes a lovely photograph.
Pre-reception drinks are served on the lawn (or Reception Barn if the weather is adverse) and photographs are taken during this time.
If a Receiving line is being held, then The Bride & Groom can use this time to go to their room to freshen up ready ‘to receive’ at 4.15pm
The Wedding Coordinator will alert the Groomsmen & Ushers that it is time to arrange the Receiving line and guests will then be directed to the main barn, to be welcomed on a personal basis. If a Receiving line is not being held then the Groomsmen will direct the guests straight to the main barn, to be seated, whilst the Bride & Groom can go to their room to freshen up.
The Best Man or designated person will announce the new ‘Mr & Mrs’ to the room.
Wedding Breakfast commences
Speeches (if before dessert)
Dessert (or speeches if after dessert)
The Bride and Groom can mingle with their guests (tea & coffee served during this time) whilst Evening Guests start to arrive
Cutting the Cake
The DJ/Band will announce the Evening food (set up & cleared down by caterers)
Live music finishes
Last orders at the bar called
Recorded music finishes (live music to finish at 11 pm) and taxis arrive
Finish (guests depart)