Another new year means another wonderful wedding season, and dare we say it, 2020 may just be the best year to get married. As of January 25th, we will officially be in the year of the rat, according to the Chinese calendar. 

Although to us a rat may seem rather unpleasant, in Chinese proverb the animal suggests spirit, delicacy and vitality, all characteristics of a fantastic wedding and marriage. The Chinese gods have blessed you, folks.

And don’t forget that according to the custom, it’s okay for women to propose on 29th February because 2020 is a leap year.

Weddings can be daunting, sure, and the to do list is a long one. But, we’re here to help you tick off those pesky little jobs one by one. 

And The Royal Exchange is the perfect place to plan festivities fit for kings and queens.

Love is in the air as The Royal Exchange Manchester prepares for another wonderful year of weddings I Love Manchester

First on the list: keeping the parents happy. 

Luckily for you, Nigel Rayment has reopened on Old Bank Street following a complete refurbishment. The lavish family owned boutique with hats of all shapes and sizes decorating the walls is run by Nigel’s son Sean and specialises in mother of the bride and mother of the groom outfits. 

With over 500 stockists worldwide including all of the leading designers like Ronald Joyce – Veni Infantino, John Charles and Irresistible, it has everything your mum needs to look fabulous on the big day. Whatever you want, they’ve got it. Shoes and bags can be dyed on request. No appointment needed, just turn up and get fancy.

Next: rings, of course. And who better to ask about jewels than royalty? 

Head over to The Royal Exchange to find lots of jewellers offering bespoke wedding rings and other decorative pieces, finished off with your own personal touches. Or a special watch maybe – in which case, head to Watches of Switzerland for big names including Rolex, Cartier, Longines, Tissot, Rado and more Swiss brands than any other UK retailer.

And don’t forget that Valentine’s Day isn’t far off, so perhaps it’s time to look at diamonds for your special someone too? 

Love is in the air as The Royal Exchange Manchester prepares for another wonderful year of weddings I Love Manchester

The Royal Exchange Jewellers is the first place to visit, where you can find some of the finest gold and silver rings in Manchester. 

Arthur Kay & Bro is one of Manchester’s best-known jewellers selling only the highest quality pieces. With its gleaming gold trim around every edge of its beautiful exterior, this shop is hard to miss. It has stood proudly on the corner of Market Street and St Ann’s Square since 1897.  

Choose from brand new or vintage antique collections, and even get your chosen rings polished for your big day. 

Another place to get your wedding accessories is Jenny Jones, also known as the ‘lifesize jewellery box’. 

The store is currently run by the company founder’s daughter Sara, who uses her experience in design to provide a unique service to every customer. This store has been producing excellent jewellery for over 40 years and has an enviable collection of wedding and engagement rings, so expect nothing less than perfection.

You could also try Wave in the Arcade for unique, beautiful pieces in gold, silver and diamond, as well as a bespoke service to create something individual, or Mays in the Arcade – established in Manchester in 1825 and trusted specialists in jewellery repairs, alterations and engravings.

Love is in the air as The Royal Exchange Manchester prepares for another wonderful year of weddings I Love Manchester

Finally, Diamond Heaven in the Royal Exchange Arcade may seem quaint but it has a worldwide reputation for its impeccable collections of rings and jewellery. But the store not only prides itself on its merchandise but its wonderful aftercare including polishing, cleaning, alterations and resizing. After all, a wedding ring isn’t just for a day, it’s for life.

Before we get too carried away with rings, don’t forget you’re going to need something to wear. So let’s start with suits. 

Whether there’s one man, two men or no men at the altar, someone, somewhere at this wedding is going to need a suit. 

With 165 years of tailoring experience, Moss Bros will be top of most grooms’ list for fashionable yet affordable menswear. And if you’re looking for a suit for less, you can hire them here too. But it will cost a little more than 7s 6d – the amount the very first garment was loaned out for by founders Alfred and George Moss in 1897. 

Love is in the air as The Royal Exchange Manchester prepares for another wonderful year of weddings I Love Manchester

If you’ve got a bit more cash to splash and want to keep your suit as a distant souvenir of your special day, head over to Lanigan and Hulme for speciality, made-to-measure suits. 

The store offers a supreme shopping experience, and with constant updates to their menswear lines, you’re guaranteed the best in the business. And you can even choose to get your suit personally tailored with a choice of up to 250 fabrics. No other suit will fit like one that’s measured just for you, so why not treat yourself?

Last but definitely not least is the bride. If you’ve found the perfect dress but it just doesn’t fit right, there’s no need to worry. Alterations Boutique in the Royal Exchange Arcade offers a whole range of dress alterations, including reshaping, zip replacement and restyles too. 

The staff at Alterations Boutique pride themselves on superior craftsmanship so your beloved gown will always lie in a talented pair of hands.

And if you haven’t proposed yet, you’ve got all of this to look forward to. Good luck!

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