WEDDING PLANNING AND WHERE TO START
As a wedding planner the question I get asked the most is ‘where do we start?’
In this post I explain eight things to establish for the planning to begin.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
This may sound so obvious but for some this is a difficult decision and it is easy to procrastinate and want to do the other bits first. Please don’t.
The location of your wedding sets the tone for everything else and makes it much easier to continue the planning.
Have a think about it together, the place you choose should represent you and the life you are going to build. Do you want to tie the knot by the beach in summertime, gather everyone at a countryside estate or simply invite to a great event at your favourite restaurant or city landmark?
Maybe have you already picked the dream venue or maybe you have family traditions that should be considered. Get in touch with the venue and book the date, however keep in mind that many times the date will be set according to the availability of the venue. Decide on a location for the ceremony too because it is not always sure the ceremony and reception can be held at the same one.
If you struggle to find a suitable place there are many of us planners out there who are willing to help with the venue scouting.
It can be extremely time consuming and very tricky to know which criteria to look for; I have fantastic connections and knowledge of both common and more unusual sites.
GUEST LIST AND WEDDING PARTY
This usually goes hand in hand with the venue picking because finding a venue is difficult unless you know how many people you will cater for.
I would suggest you to do a rough list even before your planning starts; do you want a grand or intimate celebration? Are all families and friends to be invited or just a selected few, and where do you draw the line?
It is so much harder than expected. You may want everyone you care about to be with you on your day, but you may also want to get married in that beautiful little greenhouse that only fits thirty-five.
Even if the two of you are on the same wavelength; family, relatives and friends are usually involved too, having their say in who to invite and not.
Talk about it so there are no surprises. This is really important in the case you are accepting financial help from your parents or someone else.
My advice is to take your time with this.
Create a dream guest list without thinking about the budget, venue or other’s inputs.
Set up clear cutting rules and follow them.
Be firm with your dear and near that if they aren’t the ones paying for it they have to accept that you cannot invite everyone.
Prioritise and learn what or who is worth taking a stand for. Planning is supposed to be fun and not wear you down.
Make an A list and a B list where list A consists of the people you really can’t bear being without, and list B of names that will be invited if anyone declines from the former list.
Unless you have already done it this is also the time to select your entourage of bridesmaids, ushers, best men, flower girls and pageboys.
Another post will follow shortly on the responsibilities of the wedding party.
STYLE AND CONCEPT
You have probably touched this subject a million times before. The feel, the look and the overall style of your big day!
When you have established what type of ceremony and wedding you want, the question of how you want it pops up.
When we design weddings we want them to reflect your personality, find out what is truly you and create a day that is genuine.
Collect your favourite items, write a list of what you enjoy doing and note down all things that makes you happy. It can be anything from an old postcard, a treasured work of art, a delicious dish or specific type of cuisine to a superhero, the colour of coffee or your beloved pet.
Create a mental or physical mood board and look for inspiration all around you. Pin away on Pinterest and scroll through all the gorgeous images on Instagram. Ideas and designs that will make your wedding unique takes form, and from now on this concept will run as the red thread through the upcoming points.
‘What should I wear?’ is the other common question I get asked. As often by the guests as the brides and grooms.
And yes, what should you wear?
Brides who have found their perfect dresses say that when they tried them on they just knew, but also that the dresses they actually went with were not always what they had in mind from the beginning.
No matter how vivid a picture you have in your head of the right dress we suggest you to test a few styles. Book an appointment with a boutique and try different dresses, all from ballgowns to fishtails to play-suits. Not only because it will help you narrow it down but because it really is a great experience.
Grooms doesn’t necessarily have to start as early but the sooner you’ve got your outfit picked out the better.
You can have it tailored, bought or even hired. The style choices are many and can range from very formal to quite casual depending on your wedding and personal preferences.
For the formal occasion the tailcoat, white tie and morning suit are on top of the list followed by the tuxedo. These have quite strict rules that should be followed.
A three or two piece suit on the other hand still feels elegant and classy but can be adapted to your own style with change of colour and cut.
If that is uncomfortable or doesn’t match the style of your relaxed wedding simple chinos or linen trousers can be worn with a shirt or dinner jacket.
Remember all the details like ties, handkerchiefs, braces, socks, shoes and umbrellas.
A PIECE OF ADVICE FOR BRIDES, GROOMS AND GUESTS IS TO DRESS UP RATHER THAN DOWN FROM YOUR NORMAL STYLE AND PICTURE YOURSELF YEARS FROM NOW LOOKING BACK AT THIS MOMENT FEELING PROUD OF WHAT YOU WORE.
Personally this is one of my favourite bits because it really gives you a blank canvas to put your own stamp on.
By choosing a suite of paper goods you can really give your guests a hint of the style of your wedding. Try sticking to a cohesive look on all stationery and follow the red thread of your wedding style.
A suite usually contains of the following:
Save the date cards
They should be sent out as soon as the date is set and the venue is booked.
Include your own names (+those of the hosts if other than yourselves), date, time, location and RSVP date.
Reply cards and envelopes
If needed maps, directions, parking or transport information and accommodation details can be included with the invitations or sent out separately together with programmes and order of service.
Make sure everybody knows what they are being served with printed menus or written signs.
Make it easy for your guests to find their seats with place cards, table numbers and seating charts.
Thank you cards
Great photographers and beautiful photos saves those precious moments you will cherish forever.
It is a fantastic way to help you remember, and also see what happened around you while your attention were focused elsewhere.
To get more personalised photos find someone who suits you and meet with them before to go through everything important and make sure you are being understood.
Flag up personal dramas or family feuds beforehand to avoid awkward moments.
Include the photographer in the planning of the event, and agree over locations and times so they can make the most out of it.
Wedding photographers are in high demand and can be booked up far in advance so do your research and find yours now.
CATERER AND ENTERTAINMENT
for an event to be great there has to be a great flow
Guests should feel welcomed and entertained throughout, a basic rule is that something should happen at least every half an hour.
An even flow can be created with good and thoughtful design. This is what we specialise in so give us a shout if you want to know more.
The food takes the biggest part in many weddings and here the sky's the limit. If you are a foodie this will definitely be the main area. Think about colours, textures and aromas as much as the taste, it can be a fun way to stick to your wedding concept and we constantly see new trends emerging due to creative methods tying different ideas together.
Remember that not everybody can be pleased, but make an effort to customise food to individual requirements.
Look at your food as an entertainment, get guests involved by diy stations, self serve buffets and shared plates and incorporate theatrical elements in preparation or distribution. Mix up the serving styles by offering food from various buffets, stations, trays, bars and vehicles.
Other elements to consider for keeping your guests intrigued are music, performers, games, dance floors and photo booths.
FLOWERS AND DECOR
Get in contact with a designer who can help you plan and style your venue according to your taste and wishes.
When it comes to styling a space think about what areas your attention is naturally drawn to and what you would like to focus on. These spots should be decorated wisely.
Your florist will provide you with flower arrangements and bouquets. The essentials when ordering your wedding flowers are:
Main bridal bouquet
Side bouquets, posies, corsages and nosegays for the wedding party
Entryway and aisle arrangements
Backdrop, archway or altar arrangement
Tossing petals for guests
Cake, buffet, and food table decorations