Royal fever is everywhere, with the whole world looking to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this Saturday.
Planning a wedding can be a mammoth task, even if it is on a more modest scale than that of the Windsors, but there is no reason why it can’t have the same flair and sense of sparkle.
And, with the vast range of businesses in Sunderland, every element of a wedding can be planned to perfection without having to leave the city centre.
Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, believes that when it comes to a wedding fit for a princess, the city ticks all the boxes.
“This is always a busy time of year for weddings and Royal weddings definitely boost their popularity,” said Sharon.
“The great news for couples wanting to tie the knot in Sunderland is that we have any number of businesses and services which cover every single aspect of the day.
“From choosing the perfect accessories for the wedding party to carefully selecting the dress, Sunderland has both independent and large retailers who offer a massive amount of choice.”
Wedding days are often heralded as one of the best days of someone’s life, so a good wedding photographer is a must, to ensure that there is a permanent reminder of the day for years to come.
With experience in both the Hong Kong fashion industry and the London beauty photography scene, city-centre based Scott Spock Photography is a fantastic choice for images that capture those special moments with a personal touch.
One of the most important elements of any wedding day is the dress and, as it’s probably one of the most single most expensive items, it needs to be right.
From intricate lace gowns with sleeves, as the Duchess of Cambridge went for in 2011, to strapless necklines or full, voluminous skirts – there are endless styles to choose from.
Brides need to look no further than Green Terrace, the home of Amore Brides, with a vast array of gowns that will leave any bride feeling spoilt for choice.
For the groom, although a three-piece black suit may be the traditional option, patterns and colours are becoming increasingly popular.
Debenhams and Next at the Bridges have a wide selection of suits and formal shoes and they are also great stores to find outfits for the ushers and pageboys at the same time.
Then, of course, there are the flowers, which are a vital accessory for any wedding day.
They can transform a wedding venue or outfit, from a subtle splash of colour in the groomsmen’s button holes to an elaborate arrangement on the top table.
Bdazzled Floral and Events Ltd at Waterloo Place can help to create the perfect wedding vision, whether that is large, exotic blooms or a more neutral display of petals.
And would it be a wedding without a cake?
Anything goes these days, with multi-tiered creations of various shapes, flavours and colours – but for the truly regal effect it would be wise to keep it traditional.
Look no further than Muller Swiss Baker & Confectioner, at Blandford Street, or for those on a tight budget, then a selection of individual cupcakes – available at a variety of stores – can provide the answer.
For those looking to ways to make their wedding stand out, then Serendipity Tea and Trinkets, at Frederick street might have the answer.
The eclectic tea room hires out china, table linen and even props and accessories – with everything from cake stands to candelabra – to give the wedding an authentic vintage feel.
A wedding day doesn’t just involve a few people, it takes a small army to make it happen and so it’s not surprising that the happy couple often want to say thank you.
Ernest Jones and H Samuel at the Bridges both offer a stunning range of wedding favours, from cufflinks for the best man to engraved gifts for the mother and father of the bride and groom.
And, for the bridesmaids, Collinsons at Crowtree Road, has some fantastic options to make them feel appreciated, including jewellery from Sweetie X, Links of London and ChloBo.
From the tiny details that make the day unique, to the photographer who will capture it all and what might well be the most expensive dress you will ever buy, Sunderland businesses are on hand to help create an experience that will make you feel like royalty – even if just for a day.
l NEXT WEEK – the city’s reception locations …