THE PAUL BURRELL WEDDING GUIDE: HOW YOU CAN HAVE YOUR OWN `ROYAL' WEDDING.
DURING his years of Royal service, butler Paul Burrell was able to witness weddings on the grandest scale imaginable. But for his own marriage, Paul chose a simple reception at a quiet hotel. And that's his main advice to you - choose the sort of wedding day that YOU want!
"Many people make the mistake of trying too hard to please other people," he says. "Always remember it's YOUR day. So relax, enjoy it and try to remember every detail because it's such a special day - and it goes by so quickly.
"A wedding can be stressful and difficult to organise but with planning, it will be the happiest and most memorable day of your life."
THE BUDGET WEDDING
If you're on a tight budget, there are lots of costs you can cut, says Paul.
"Work out how much you have to spend. Draw up a list of those closest to you and then you can eliminate some once you have worked out the cost.
"If you're worried about the costs involved with a sit-down meal, have your wedding late in the afternoon when a buffet or simple finger food will be fine.
"Don't go for foods on cocktail sticks, try mini-hot dogs or hamburgers. You just need a napkin and you can help yourself. It's perfect finger food and kids and adults will love it!
"It's nice to give your wedding guests a present to say thank you, but they don't have to be costly.
"The most effective gift I saw recently was when the bride had sewn little muslin pockets of sunflower seeds with a card saying, `We hope you'll take these away and, as they grow, think of us.'"
You don't have to have a huge six-tier wedding cake like Diana's.
"And don't feel obliged to stick to a basic fruit cake," says Paul.
"Many couples now choose a chocolate or even a plain sponge cake.
"You don't have to spend a lot of money either. Get a friend or relative to make you one. It's not only much cheaper, of course, but it brings in the personal touch which is so much more important than anything else.
"You can do what Diana did and give slices of the wedding cake boxed up as a small keepsake for guests. Or you can give the traditional sugared almonds, wrapped in small pieces of sheer fabric, or chocolates, miniature bottles of brandy or champagne."
Strict etiquette should be observed when it comes to who enters the church first, according to Paul.
"The first to arrive should be the groom, the best man and the ushers. Then, 30 minutes later, the rest of the family members should arrive," he says.
"It's worth noting that divorced parents of the bride and groom should sit together. Next come all the bridesmaids. The bride's mother is the one who should be the very last to be seated."
Towards the end of the reception, the bride may toss her bouquet over her shoulder. According to tradition, the one who catches it will be the next to marry.
Some brides may prefer to place their bouquet on the grave of a loved one. Royal brides traditionally place their bouquets on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey.
Brides are on their feet all day so they need a decent pair of shoes if they are to stay comfortable - especially if it's warm. Princess Diana had her satin pumps made specially for her size 71/2 feet. But you could let someone buy them for you as a wedding present. Then, if they're ivory satin, you can have them dyed black or blue so you can put them on with your evening wear later.
Gold is still by far the most favoured option for brides and grooms. It is said to symbolise the circle of life.
Royal wedding rings are traditionally made from a nugget of Welsh gold and are fashioned by Garrad, the Crown Jeweller.
The most famous superstition is that brides should always wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue for luck. But here are some you may not have known...
It's said to be unlucky for anyone to wear green when attending a wedding.
A bride should try not to cry on the morning of her wedding as this could lead to more tears later. She must also lead off with the right foot as she leaves home to go to the church.
A black cat, rainbow, chimney sweep, toad or spider is a symbol of good luck if seen by the bride on her wedding day. And if she is woken up by songbirds, good fortune will follow her.
If a bridesmaid sleeps with a piece of wedding cake under her pillow, she'll dream about the man she will marry.
One of the best things about a wedding is that you get to celebrate your anniversary every year! A romantic way to remember your wedding day each year is to surprise each other with a gift made from the material associated with that anniversary...
First - Cotton
Second - Paper
Third - Leather
Fourth - Silk or Flowers
Fifth - Wood
Sixth - Sugar or Iron
Seventh - Wool or Copper
Eighth - Bronze
Ninth - Pottery
Tenth - Tin
Eleventh - Steel
Twelfth - Silk, Fine Linen or Leather
Thirteenth - Lace
Fourteenth - Ivory
Fifteenth - Crystal
Twentieth - China
Twenty-fifth - Silver
Thirtieth - Pearl
Thirty-fifth - Coral
Fortieth - Ruby
Forty-fifth - Sapphire
Fiftieth - Gold
Fifty-fifth - Emerald
Seventieth - Platinum
Give your guests disposable cameras to take their own pictures of special moments at your wedding that you might miss.
When receiving presents, keep all cards together so you know who gave you what. "It's the height of rudeness not to write a thank you card, so don't get your presents muddled up," says Paul. "The same goes if you are sending a gift. So many people don't write cards to go with them, it's no wonder the bride gets confused."
Taken from Entertaining With Style, by Paul Burrell, published by Andre Deutsch at pounds 17.99. Pictures from the book by Simon Smith. Copyright Paul Burrell 1999. Sunday People readers can get a copy at the special price of pounds 14.99. To order (p&p free) phone 0870 900 2050 quoting reference number 452N