Chris and Tony Ashby-Steed married at The Grand, Brighton in 2017; one year on and they’ve put together their tips for how to plan a wedding and how to keep the magic alive once the wedding is over…
Find your perfect venue
“We really wanted a ‘wow’ factor and to spoil our friends and family and The Grand fitted that perfectly,” explains Tony. “It was important to us to have some of our wedding photos to include the highlights of the location – the beach, bandstand, West Pier – so being right across the road was great for us. We’re also both huge ABBA fans, so to stay in the suite where they stayed after their 1974 Eurovision win was really special for us.”
“We’ve always been really impressed with the personal service at The Grand,” adds Chris. “Whenever we come back we’re always recognised and greeted personally with a genuine warmth, it’s lovely to see those familiar faces and makes it feel like a home from home. We love that the atmosphere is actually really relaxed and friendly, from the outside it could feel a bit intimidating but it’s just not like that when you’re in.”
When to choose your wedding music
“Start thinking about music early on as it is really important and sets the tone for your day,” advises Chris. “We chose I Finally Found Someone by Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams; when it’s the right song, you just know.” “And we walked out to ABBA’s I do I do I do which our guests absolutely loved!” added Tony.
Make the day memorable
“Create different layers and elements to the day really helps make it memorable and enjoyable for guests. We had a lot of feedback saying how much people had enjoyed the entertainment part of the evening (Miss Jason did a set 8.30-9.30pm). We even had a couple of gatecrashers from other events but we were happy to let them stay and have a dance at our disco afterwards!”
Plan end of day tasks, as well as the ceremony and party
“We only realised at 1am on the wedding night that we hadn’t allocated anyone to take the flower arrangements – they were so amazing and so beautiful that it seemed such a shame for them to be wasted.”
Indeed, so much thought goes into the planning for the actual event, it’s easy to forget to plan for the clearing away afterwards.
Take time to enjoy your day
“Remember to take a deep breath just to relax and take everything in. We planned the wedding to within an inch of its life, and seeing everything come together was incredible. So many things exceeded our expectations – seeing the unbelievable flowers for the first time was actually really emotional for me, I ran up to the suite crying, friends thought something was wrong until I said ‘It’s the flowers, they’re blooming beautiful’, that set me off for the rest of the day!
“It’s the most amazing thing to look around and see all the people that you love the most in one room together to share the day with you. At one point my mum said ‘This is the best day of my life’ which was such a special thing to hear.”
Avoid wedding stress
“Remember to be kind and listen to each other,” suggests Tony, “and make sure your wedding reflects the two of you as a couple. You won’t always agree on everything but a disagreement doesn’t have to turn into an argument. You will always go beyond your budget unless you are willing to compromise and there will be unexpected costs so just be prepared for that. Work out what your ‘must haves’ are and stick to them – a giant discoball and white dancefloor was a non-negotiable for us!”
“Give yourself enough time to plan and to shop around” adds Chris, “as sometimes it works out cheaper actually to buy things rather than to hire them and then you’ve got them on hand for other occasions or to lend to friends etc. Don’t panic if things go wrong in the run-up to the wedding, there will always be a solution and a good venue and team of suppliers should be on hand to help with any issues.
“Don’t stress about trying to get around all your guests, they just want to see the two of you happy and having a good time.”
“And definitely, definitely book a high quality videographer,” says Tony as an addendum. “We used the amazing Amber Rose Morgan, the video is something that you will come back to time and time again and really captures the day in a way that nothing else can. Building good relationships with your suppliers, particularly with your photographer and videographer, will make sure that they know you both and what style you are looking for, our video is a mix between a fairytale and a Hollywood movie and it never fails to make us smile, laugh and blub equally.
Keep the magic alive
Life doesn’t end at ‘I do’. After all the planning and wedding prep it’s easy to feel a little of the post-wedding blues and so it’s important to make sure there’s always something to be looking ahead to. So keep planning ahead so you have things to look forward to, together.” – Chris and Tony