If you’re anything like our previous wedding couples we bet you are currently trailing the web in search of inspiration for the big day, considering dates, colour palettes and idea solutions for food, wedding entertainment and décor, generating guest numbers, dreaming of the perfect wedding dress and staring down a cascading to-do list that seems never-ending. An overwhelming sense of chaos in the midst of engagement celebrations is perfectly normal (don’t worry, you aren’t going crazy!), but a sign that it is time to appoint a wedding planner to relieve you of some of those pre-nuptial planning pressures.
Perhaps you have dreams of throwing a showstopper wedding but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you have some ideas in mind for the big day and need some guidance as to how to bring your vision to life? Well we can help and this guide should steady your nerves and make things more manageable.
Here are the most productive planning tips of things that should be at the top of your wedding checklist:
Let’s start at the very beginning …
In life we are taught to walk before we can run and to avoid rash decision-making. There are many hurdles that we negotiate in our everyday lives, but ultimately there are two destinations to every situation – the beginning and the end. Okay so love has no ending, but it is good to establish an overall plan by making a wish list that will help you navigate through the wedding planning process.
Make a list
Lists offer many advantages such as keeping things in check, but they also offer a safe space for ideas, thoughts and concerns that build up and create those unwanted, overwhelming stressful situations. Allow this list to breathe and change shape as you brain-dump your ideas to make room for other important things going on in everyday life. Life doesn’t stop just because you’re getting married and it’s important to not overload yourself with too many extra pressures.
You’ve got a friend in me …
Planning a wedding is a stressful thing to do – there’s no point in beating around the bush. But there are ways of sharing the load, after all, a problem shared is a problem halved. Invite your friends and family members to be part of the planning process by asking them to sustain a level of normalcy – you will need it, especially in times of heightened anxiety. Take opinions, gather ideas and share concerns, but leave the decision making between you and your partner.
Appoint a wedding planner
It is often remarked that wedding planners are a luxury and unnecessary expense, but we guarantee that by appointing a wedding planner you’ll give yourself space to enjoy the wedding planning process, and you’ll save a tonne of money. Wedding planners add layers of value which may not appear as tangible benefits to begin with, but which surface and become invaluable deeper into the process. As wedding professionals, we specialise in the design, planning and execution of weddings as part of our day-to-day job.
This specialist service offers clients the opportunity to make informed decisions that are shaped by results specific to each unique couple. As well as offering an impartial perspective, as wedding planners, we thrive on organisation and love to plan (believe it or not!), are generally fastidious when it comes to detail and enjoy showcasing both trends and original ideas. We can also advise on the legal requirements of marriage, recommendations of locations and suggestions when it comes to budget planning.
So you want an original design, but you don’t know what to budget?
Budget planning is more crucial than you realise, which may sound strange given how cautious people are when spending their own money. A good question to ask yourself is “what don’t I want to spend?” which may give you a figure to work backwards from and a medium ground that you’re comfortable with. Being transparent with your budget will ensure you receive far more accurate costings from suppliers, impact on the venue and locations you can look at, the level of production and various other factors that ultimately shape the wedding day.
Overall you will make decisions based on what you feel is value for money and for the things that are vital parts to the celebration e.g. catering and photography. Don’t be scared to ask for comparison quotes and always ask questions, especially with any anxieties around logistics costs or other unexpected elements such as transport. You’ll be surprised how quickly these costs stack up. Use your wedding planner’s experience and take their advice – it’s what they are there for. Talking of which, here are some FAQs that we are regularly asked which may help.
An intimate wedding in a French vineyard or an extravaganza in Manhattan? How big or small do you want it to be?
This is where a thick skin comes in handy and a red pen is your best friend. It may be important for you to have a small, intimate celebration or perhaps you feel obliged to invite the extended family, your neighbours and your friends from primary school. Each guest list is unique and will ultimately impact on your budget and requirements, but it’s important not to feel too feel guilty about culling people from the list – more people expect it than you realise!
The guest list can help shape the fundamentals of your wedding. Having a running total of invitees will help you to make informed decisions about venues available to you, offer more accurate information for suppliers to quote against and to inform you of any logistics that need considering. If you are considering destination weddings always consider your planning timeline – your guests will need advanced notice to make the necessary arrangements for travel and accommodation. Working with a wedding planner will relieve you of the administration of these tasks and will give you, and your guests, peace of mind that there is someone to ask for help and guidance.
Consider the following when thinking about location and venue:
- Be rational but open-minded: you may love a historic building for its association with Gaudi in Barcelona, or have a particular love for the beautiful gardens of the Alhambra Palace in Granada – most public venues offer private hire, but consider the logistics of hosting a celebration in these challenging venues before putting down a deposit.
- Wet weather: we are used to dealing with inclement weather in the UK so we make it a priority to always assume it will be raining cats and dogs on your wedding day. This way you avoid disappointment and at the same time ensure you have a beautiful backup plan if you do need to change plans.
- Is the venue licensed? Without venues and destinations it would be very hard to get married, not to mention the legal entities around licensed spaces available for civil ceremonies. Never assume that a venue has a wedding license – you’ll be surprised at how many venues don’t.
- Terms and conditions – always ask for a copy of the venue’s terms and conditions and rules of site, as you will discover a whole wealth of information that may influence your decision.
- Manage your own expectations: many venues are historic venues, museums or beautiful destinations that have lasted thousands of years before your wedding. Always assume a venue will question creative intentions that may impact on their position as a venue of significance. Conservation is of critical importance and sometimes decisions are out of our hands, regardless of how incredible an idea might be.
- Recognise that your gut feeling is generally right: you will know when a venue is a perfect choice for your wedding, as it will feel right. It’s a feeling that can’t really be explained – you will know when you know.
Hand in your notice …
No, it’s not what you think! Most clients aren’t aware that it is a legal requirement to give notice of your intent to marry. This is arranged between you and your local council in the place where you reside, as well as arranging the actual marriage or civil ceremony with the local council. Following on from this notice you will be assigned a registrar who will conduct the ceremony, or work with a representative from your faith who can perform the marriage in line with your own religion.
The nuts and bolts
The thing we love about wedding planning is the journey our client’s go through when considering ideas, absolute necessities and nice-to-have enhancements, and seeing how all of these things develop into the big day. Each wedding is unique and is therefore shaped to accommodate your requirements and there is no set path, which makes our job as wedding planners really exciting. Consider your passions, loves and interests and interweave these throughout the design and theme of the celebration. Never compare your wedding to someone else’s as ultimately yours should be entirely about you.
Pamper stations at the ready!
As you work through your wedding checklist remember to reward yourself. As well as browsing the rails of exquisite wedding gowns, take yourself off and allow yourself some well-earned pampering. These rewards are positive reinforcements as you check things off of the list, and can help you to relax and unwind after making big, life-changing decisions.
A few of your favourite things …
The wedding should reflect you and your partner’s tastes and be a celebration of the things that you both love. It is easy to get swept up in trends and pressures of how to do things but try to remain true to your own list of ideas and ensure you are planning the wedding that is in your mind, not that of the planner or a relative. Take advice and take time to consider what you really want to see, the structure of the day and those elements you are not willing to compromise on.
We are obsessed with design and love to show new ways of doing things. Are you curious about our process? This page should help and be sure to contact us with any questions you may have >>
Traditions vs Traditional
Love is entirely personal and your story will be different from the next, but one thing that we all love is the union and tradition of exchanging vows, the coming together of two families and the tradition of celebration. But gone are the days were honouring traditions means stuffy, same-old, one-format traditional weddings. Honouring traditions is incredibly romantic and can create nostalgia for your guests and memories to cherish as you develop your own love story, but don’t be afraid to try something new and to adopt new traditions into your special day. We recently worked with a couple who popped a champagne cork instead of the traditional exchange of kissing when the celebrant said “I now pronounce you husband and wife”.
It is generally expected that you will feed your guests and provide refreshments during the day, but this doesn’t mean that you need to have a champagne reception or a sit-down meal. Some couples prefer something more relaxed, offering guests the opportunity to experience global cuisines at food stations or freshly shucked oysters, for example. Speeches do not need to be reserved only for the groom and his best men, and house bands are turning into orchestras that can perform a couples’ first dance. There may be formalities to overcome but this does not mean that proceedings need be formal.
There is no such thing as stress-free wedding planning!
Planning a wedding is an expensive thing can do so it is expected (and entirely normal) to make difficult decisions, which may make you feel stressed. You will experience heightened moments that feel overwhelming, and at times feel like you want to give up, but try to remain calm and work with your planner to problem-solve and reduce anxieties by formulating and revising your checklist. We are emotional beings and this event is going to be one of the most important of your life, so a little stress is expected and healthy, otherwise you won’t be able to ascertain what’s important or not.
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Enjoy the day and don’t wear a watch!
You will be surprised at how quickly time will fly by on your wedding day. So with all said and done remember to have the best time and trust your wedding planner to do their job. You should experience the day as your guests would experience it and not worry too much about logistics. And even if it’s just the two of you on the dance floor make sure you live in the moment and cherish every single minute of your special day.