Think wedding, and what images come to mind? Big cake, stiff floral arrangements everywhere, a river of champagne, the bride self-conscious in a huge white dress, the groom trussed up in an morning suit?
It doesn't have to be anything like the stereotypes. As more civil ceremonies are chosen and weddings move away from church and hotel into your own back yard, the beach or a friendly local pub, brides and grooms are tailoring their wedding to reflect their own personalities, preferences and budgets. You can, too.
If you're a fashion traditionalist, you might like to reflect this by styling your wedding to look vintage - with Laura Ashley milkmaid dresses and the men sporting rustic waistcoats and breeches (check out our Victoria ivory lace bridesmaid dress for a vintage lace look). Very Thomas Hardy. Or go further back in time to Jane Austen's era, a pair of Victorian wedding boots 1015 paired with a victorian style dress and lots of lace for you and as for your groom, he could cut a dash in a Mr Darcy frilly shirt and high boots! Younger brides might prefer to channel more recent fashion ereas, like the swinging Sixties or the big-hair Eighties, with appropriate music at the venue. Or you could have a fairytale wedding, or a Goth bash, or a Hollywood glamourfest - no one allowed to underdress for the occasion!
If dressing up isn't your scene, dispense with formality and be very, very laidback. Schedule the wedding for the summer, hold it in a pretty garden (yours, your parents', your best friend's), have a buffet lunch, and get some musical mates together to serenade you. Then depart for the pub or a favourite restaurant in the evening.
But if you are following protocol with a church or civil ceremony and a reception, put your stamp on it by paying attention to the details. Have exactly the menu you'd like, whether it's curry, fish and chips or shepherd's pie. Keep the floral displays to a minimum - spend instead on a small gift for your guests to take home. And don't go with the usual stationery package - design your own invitations and placement cards, with photos of the two of you and words composed by yourselves. There are lots of stationery firms who'll make up individual designs.
From the cake to the dress to the music, you have a chance to shape your special day to your own taste. So forget everything you've ever read or seen, and start imagining your own perfect wedding...
For more hints and tips that will help take some of the stress out of organising your big day, check out our wedding information pages. They're an indispensable source of wedding planning tips and style advice for any bride to be and we are adding to them all the time so make sure you visit us again.
And don't forget to browse Henry Kaye's complete range of of stunning wedding shoes (for brides, bridesmaids and pageboys alike), stylish pageboy outfits, gorgeous bridesmaid dresses, and exquisite wedding bags and beautiful wedding accessories.