Every bride wants to feel like her big day is straight out of a fairytale — but that doesn’t mean you have to create a “cartoon style” affair. It’s all about making your day feel glamorous and magical from beginning to end, according to event and wedding planner Mark Niemierko.
“First of all you have to think about location and venue,” says Mark, who has over 10 years experience within the event industry. “The ceremony is really where you can get that fairytale element because it’s the traditional aspect; that’s where you say your vows.
“A stately home or venue such as Blenheim Palace would be ideal for instant glamour and wow. You could even hire Kensington Palace if you want to feel like a princess for the day — but if you don’t have the budget for a royal palace, try a ballroom or city hotel.”
Wherever you choose, it’s the little details that can really transform the venue. “At one wedding we did at Babington House, we had a curtain of fairylights at the back of the chapel which illuminated it while the bride was walking in, and again when the couple was walking out.”
And an unexpected flourish is perfect for making your ceremony stand out, Mark suggests. “At another wedding, before the ceremony we had a solo violinist playing. Then at the end of the aisle was a curtain which drew back to reveal an orchestra playing Here Comes the Bride.”
Sometimes the magic is in the simplicity, especially when it comes to flowers. “I’m a big fan of using one type of flower on its own as it has mass impact,” says Mark. “I love whites for flowers although pastels have come back into fashion. I love gardenias, peonies are amazing when they’re in season and I’m obsessed with hydrangeas, especially white ones.
“Having trees down the aisle is totally fairytale — we did that at a wedding years before Kate and William. It was really beautiful, an ivory setting with green trees and hanging candles for the lights.
“If you’re on a budget, reuse the trees on the tables to really create that lush feel. And we always reuse the flowers from the ceremony in the reception — we’ve had orchid trees, which are so expensive, we’d never just keep them for 20 minutes!”
To get the most from the flowers, think about clever ways to transform them for a new effect. “Once we did a cake sitting on a 10 inch cloud of white hydrangeas. It was a very simple cake, our least expensive, but it looked so wow,” Mark recalls.
And for a fairytale day to remember, there are a few memorable touches you can try to make your wedding even more unforgettable.
“Why not design your own monogram?” Mark suggests. “Do it early on and have it on the invitations, ribbons and so on. Really create your own sense of style, the monogram can go everywhere, even on napkins. Or when guests get a newspaper at the hotel, have it wrapped in monogrammed ribbon.
“If you’ve got the budget, hire male models as waiters, or dress them in matching clothes and get them to greet your guests.”
And Mark also recommends adding a touch of embellishment or fairytale sparkle throughout, from edible details on the cake to crystal on the tables. “Candelabras scream glamour,” he adds, “and I’d choose crystal rather than silver or gold. Have crystal charger plates and glassware if you can, or crystal tea light holders add magic. Candlelight is massively important to create real ambience.”
Last but not least, every fairytale needs a magical dress and accessories. “For a fairytale wedding, you have to have a bit of sparkle and glitz on the dress, but in an understated way — such as a plain white dress and a sash with embellishment or brooch,” he says.
“Dress up your accessories with beautiful chandelier earrings or a tiara. I’m also a big fan of little studded hair clips if your hair is up.”
Of course, it’s not just the bride who’s getting dressed up. “It’s classic for the groom to have black tie or white tie and tails although that means you have to marry in the evening. And if he’s in the military, that’s even better — totally Cinderella-esque!”