Our hints and tips for planning your wedding.

Published on 28 November 2020 at 10:45

We know with so much to do and remember when planning your wedding, you can easily become overwhelmed. These planning tips will hopefully become your bible, making life so much easier.

So many people will give you advice while you.re planning your wedding.  Some ideas will be invaluable and others while helpful may not make so much impact.  We have put together a list of those hints invaluable to any bride.

 

Guests first.

The Guest list is something which will need to be considered first and foremost.  The number of expected guests will have a bearing on your venue due to capacity you will need,  Generally we would say, try to allow 25 - 30 sq ft per guest.  This ensures space for tables,  staff and all important dancing room.  in addition to catering costs will a big consideration in your budget so bear in mind the more guests you have increases expense.

 

Dates to avoid.

Do your homework with regards to dates and local events of family/friends holidays and birthdays. Local trade conferences, charity events or other local events could have an impact on traffic and hotel room availability, possibly numbers of guests able to attend.

 

Consider the weather.

Whilst the British weather can be unpredictable, peoples tolerance of certain weather conditions will undoubtedly vary.  Tipis booked in mid August be extreme warm, in the same way a reception in a barn venue if not heated properly in November and December could be very cold. Bugs (gnats, deer flies and mosquitos) also swarm in certain areas during certain seasons.  Try to plan for such situations, maybe renting pest control tanks to alleviate the bugs or including bug repellent in guests' gift bags,  Blankets in a basket are always a nice touch in cold venues and maybe an outdoor bar in hot weather.  Keeping drinks cooler for longer and to breaks up how many people are in a large warm tent.

 

Be realistic with your budget.

Early on it is advisable to sit down and look at a realistic budget.  This will be a foundation for the whole planning process as in some cases can guide your decisions.

Open a joint account specifically as a wedding fund and transfer a set amount each month.  Even better if you can offered benefits with use of the account, cashback, airline miles or great shopping deals, consolidating all wedding-related purchases to this account will help you save and give you added bonuses to use either for the wedding or on a day to day basis.

 

Supplier recommendations

Suppliers mingle and network, often grouping together.  Particularly if they work as recommended suppliers for the same venues.  That said we all have different likes and dislikes, so take on board supplier recommendation but also take your time to look into potential supplier work yourself to get an over all view of whether their style will suit you and what you are looking for.

 

Keep your Guest list within your budget.

One of the biggest worries for any couple is the budget and how to keep it from spiralling.  Our advice would be to keep the guest list to a minimum.  Remember next to your venue the menu is the next biggest expense.  Even at a basic level, traditional meal and open bar costing you £100 per person, eliminating one table of 10 can save you £1,000.

 

Don't be afraid to ask the questions.

Request an extra hour for cocktails or for your band to throw in that Frank Sinatra sound-alike before you sign on the dotted line. Most venues would rather secure the booking than pin you down early on. meaning they risk loosing your custom. Later on, though, they may be less inclined to meet you halfway.

 

Suppliers who need to be there all day.

Feeding your suppliers can be another un foreseen expense.  Make sure you're not required to serve the same meal to your suppliers that guests will receive. Otherwise, you could be paying for 20 additional meals. Choose a less expensive (but equally hearty) meal for them instead. You will have to let your caterer or venue know a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many suppliers you need to feed and what you want them to serve.

 

Get organised

If you are set on a DIY wedding or employing a wedding planner is just pushing the budget too far.  Compile all your correspondences with suppliers in one place (a folder in your "One Drive" or "I Cloud" account , notes you make during meetings, and photos from Pinterest you want your suppliers to see. Start an email address specifically for your wedding, and store important supplier numbers in your phone. For on-the-go planning that keeps everything in one place, download the Bridebook - UK's #1 Wedding Planning App & Wedding Venue Finder app to keep all of your planning info digitally on-hand at all times.

 

Keep things moving.

Generally, you need one bartender to cover every 50 guests to prevent people from having to que for too long.  But if you're serving a signature cocktail that cannot be made ahead of time (or in large quantities), consider adding an extra member of staff to help.

Allocate a budget appropriately

It could be said, allocating the following percentages of your total budget will allow you to see how much will be available for each aspect at a glance.  Highlighting very quickly whether something is affordable or not.

40% Venue

10% Flowers;

10% Clothing;

10% Entertainment/Music;

10 % Photo/Video;

1% Invites;

1% Gifts

8% for miscellaneous items like a venue dresser or wedding coordinator.

10% surprise expenses like extra dress adjustments, extra invites, umbrellas if rain is forecast, additional tailoring needs .

 

Be clear in what you want.

Experienced wedding suppliers will be invaluable during the planning process.  Make sure you feel comfortable with each supplier to really get excited about the things you want.  Maybe the menus don't quite suit you, but mix and match from each would be ideal.  It's always worth asking as it may be that something can be worked out for you,  Suppliers should also be to tell you what you what's available within your given budget.

 

Booking venues late can often be worth a try

.Venues and suppliers want to fill their diary, sometimes last minute bookings can work in your favour.  Many couples book their venues at least six months in advance, enquiring about available dates two months ahead could save you around 25%.  Off peak months as well as Friday and Sunday weddings often cost about 30% less than a Saturday wedding.

 

Don't be offended if not everyone can make it on the day.

Naturally, not everyone you invite will be able to attend, of course the location of your wedding will always have an impact (destination weddings are harder to attend), how many out-of-towners are on your list, and the timing of the event (some guests may have annual holiday plans). Please take into account as a general rule, it is thought 10 - 20 percent will decline for one reason or another.

 

Child guests? Be consistent with a clear stance.

On par with choosing your bridesmaids, children at a wedding is possibly one of the most controversial decisions you will have to make.  Ultimately the choice is yours, but once you know how you want to go forward be consistent. 

If you are happy to have children attend, you can welcome all children with open arms.

Some couples prefer to have an "adults only" wedding and guests will then find their own childcare solutions.

Small intimate weddings or destination weddings may mean family only.

You can hire a child care service like shropshireweddingeventsitters.wordpress.com who will care for all the children at at the reception venue, either in a designated hotel room or at a family member's home. To prevent hurt feelings, it's wise to avoid allowing some families to bring children while excluding others (unless, of course, the children are in your bridal party.)

 

Take it a step at a time.

Put together a wedding planning list with the most important at the top, so you have everything in one place and can work through in a logical order.  Don't take on too much too fast, it doesn't matter if it takes a month to find the right venue, you want it to be right rather than rushed.  But most importantly finish one step before starting the next, so as there's not too much going on at once.

 

Streamlining your guest list.

If your guest list seems to be endless, devise a mock seating chart in your mind and consider whether plus ones are necessary, who else could your single friend would sit with?   A table with a group of single friends who know each other well is ideal.  A table of couples or single people she/he doesn't know will leave them feeling awkward.  Potentially bending the rules for one will alleviate this, but be ready for the questions as to why some can bring guests and not others. Venue size or budget constraints or your parents huge family are always good reasons.

 

Block book hotel rooms for travelling guests.

Once you've secured a date, look for hotels offering a wide range of price options.  You can often reserve rooms for guests at a reduced rate. You can then release any un - booked rooms a month prior to your wedding.  Some hotels may offer a contract with cancellation penalties, be clear you don't want to be responsible for rooms you can't fill.

Give Clear directions.

Whilst online map programs are easy to use, sometimes their directions can be out of date or wrong, there could be a quicker route with less traffic.  Speak to your ceremony and reception venues for leaflets or digital copies of recommended driving directions and even test out the routes yourself. Then include the best directions on a wedding website or email them to your guests to print out if they'd like.

 

Ensure all agreements are issued in writing.

Contracts and any changes are the basis of where you and the venues/ suppliers stand.   Make sure you have copies in a file, and in writing, whether this be through a quick confirmation email of changes or as a full legal contract.  Especially with small changes, staff changes happen and the person who agreed it may not be available to speak to by the time your date comes round.  Send a quick email to confirm.

 

Ensure you allow enough time.

Give suppliers enough time to setup. If you're renting a venue and bringing in outside help, ask what time people can have access to start setting up.  Can they come in the day before?

 

Understand terms of your marriage licence.

There are details of how marriage licences work online, but it's always worth a chat with your local registry office to book an appointment and discuss how this work and will be time.  Make a copy of your marriage license, and give it to your mom or your maid of honour, no matter how organised you are it doesn't harm to have a back up.  Ask the registrar or vicar where you'll be married for the list of restrictions (if any). For instance, is flash photography or bare shoulders prohibited? Or, if you're exchanging vows outdoors, are you allowed to plant tent pegs in the grass (which is often not allowed)?

 

Prioritise

Budgets mean finding a balance. Make a checklist of the main details, this could be your theme, style of wedding dress, design of the invitations, flowers and the photographer, and assign a number to each—one being the most important and the one at the bottom being the least.  Invest in the ones at the top (venue, menu) and cut corners on the lower ones. (But everything can't fall into the number one category!) For example, if a designer gown and fabulous food are what really matter, you may have to choose simple invitations and smaller floral arrangements.  When it comes down to the last month of your planning (and when you're particularly stressed) look at your mile long to-do list and cut three things. Yes, cut three things. Not crucial things you just don't feel like doing, such as picking a processional song or confirming final details with all of your suppliers. Consider which tasks aren't really necessary, maybe making a  "Just Married" signs, or baking cookies for the welcome bags. Cross them off and make a pledge not to think about them again.

 

Think about how the tables will be laid out.

Your guests need to be able to see and hear from their seats. If people are seated farther than 15 rows back from your ceremony altar or podium, consider renting a mic and speaker..  You'll need to coordinate the delivery and setup with your ceremony space, so put your wedding planner or best man in charge of this task.

 

Contact numbers.

Keep a list contacts on you or with your maid of honour on your wedding day, —it may come in handy in case your chauffeur gets lost or you decide you'd like your photographer to take some behind-the-scenes shots.

 

Choosing the dream dress.

Don't go dress shopping on your own— dresses can become very much the same after a while.  Someone you trust to be honest, your mom or sister, best friend, you really need someone who's not afraid to tell you what suits you and what doesn't.


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