The magazine insists its advice to pare back nuptials is nothing to do with penny-pinching. PICTURE: Supplied

Couples who dream of an extravagant wedding have been told to step away from the frills and flounces and get back to basics.

Lavish, multi-day nuptials have been overdone, says Country Life magazine.

Instead it is recommending brides-to-be opt for a more stripped-back, classy affair.

As befits the quintessentially English magazine, it has issued a gentle plea for restraint for the coming wedding season.

"The past ten years has seen an alarming arms race in weddings as they have become bigger, brasher and more expensive," the editor Mark Hedges says. "We say stop being competitive and start focussing on the magic of the romance. The only essential ingredient is a big helping of sincerity – and a little less triviality."

The magazine insists its advice to pare back nuptials is nothing to do with penny-pinching.

Rather it says it is all about with creating weddings "that don’t look like an excuse for a party and two weekends away with your friends".

It advises that couples need to give more thought to the costs that are being imposed on their guests, including gifts and the cost of accommodation.

In fact, Country Life suggests that couples should subsidise the cost of lavish hen and stag dos.

Staging the wedding over a whole weekend is also a no-no, as some guests approach multi-day celebrations with dread.

The magazine says: "Horror of horrors is the 'do' the day after… People hang around with friends because it’s less effort; they’d all rather be sleeping than scintillating." Another accoutrement to trim down is the number of bridesmaids. Country Life says less is more, insisting: "Unless it’s a royal wedding, more than six bridesmaids – of any age – is excessive."

Among other musts are morning dress for men, hats for women – plus a reliable and sober best man.

And in a nod to tradition, the magazine insists that any young man should first ask the father of the bride for permission to marry her.

The magazine also warns against wearing strapless dresses and inviting old flames.

And it suggests bridesmaids should never be asked to pay for their own outfit – if you want to stay friends, that is.