Are you recently engaged? Congratulations!!
It can all seem daunting to think of planning your wedding. Once you’ve shared your lovely news with friends and family and it’s all settled in, it will be time to make decisions about your special day.
There are many aspects to a wedding to consider; from deciding what time of year to get married, the number of guests, to booking your wedding venue & photographer, it can become quite overwhelming.
To ease you in to your wedding plans, we have teamed up with many wedding industry experts to share with you their top wedding tips from the very beginning of your decision-making around your special day.
Katie Stocks of The Events Designers
- In a three-ring binder, compile all your correspondences with vendors, notes you make during meetings, and photos or tear sheets from magazines you want vendors to see.
- When making big wedding decisions ask yourselves ‘Are we going to care about this on our 10th anniversary?’ If yes, give it due attention, if not, let it go.
- Ask your guests to pick their favourite songs and include a space for this on your rsvp. Ensure all songs are played throughout the evening – its one way to get everyone on the dance floor
Image credit : Eva Tarnok
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Michelle Jacobs of Ritzy Events
“Think about the "guest experience" when planning your wedding; from how they are going to get there to keeping them entertained and engaged throughout; make it accessible, and filled with enjoyable moments. How many of us have been to weddings where there are long - boring - gaps whilst nothing is happening? Avoid this happening with a carefully designed timeline that ensures there is something fun, interesting and/or involving happening at all times”.
Image credit : David Bastianoni
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“Money is the number one source of stress during the wedding planning stages. Before you start looking at anything, set a clear budget and resolve to stick to it. Make sure you have a contingency fund, typically we would recommend putting aside 5% of your budget for that.
As well as your budget, make sure you get clear on your guest numbers from the very get go as this will have a huge impact on all your other choices including that all-important venue! The easiest way to trim your budget is to cut guest numbers but often this comes with family politics. Remember it is your day! If you are struggling with numbers then give each set of your parents a specific number of invitations they may send.”
Image credit : Heledd Roberts
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Alana Curzon of Aisle & Style
“Don’t skip the most important part of the planning process! It can be so easy to think that the first thing you need to do when planning your wedding is to research wedding venues and confirm your date. However, there is a crucial step that comes before this which will save you so much time when it comes to sourcing your perfect venue (and all of your other suppliers) that many couples miss out.
The very first thing on your plan should be to brain dump exactly what’s important to you and your other half in how you envisage your wedding day. Try and include things on your list that are both practical and experience related and mark next to each point whether it is a ‘must have’, ‘should have’ or ‘could have’. Don’t be afraid to be really specific and the more things on your list the better!
Doing this task before you do anything else means you can kick start your whole wedding planning process being really clear about what is most important to you both, and can focus your venue and supplier searches in a much more targeted way".
Image credit : Helen Warner Photography
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Wedding photography tips
One of the big decisions to make early on will be to book your wedding photographer once your venue is booked and your date set. Top wedding photographers Fiona Kelly & Amy Fanton share their words of wisdom below:
“A wedding day flies by so one of the things I always advise my couples is to think about the timings for the day, especially during the drinks reception. Make sure you give plenty of time for this part of the day. This way you not only get all the photos you want (family ones, couple ones, detail photos of the room set up and awesome natural ones of you and your guests) but you also get a chance to relax, have a drink and mingle with everyone. Normally about an hour and a half to two hours from the end of the ceremony to calling for dinner is a good amount of time.”
Image credit: Fiona Kelly
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“Go for timeless over trendy! I've been in the industry long enough to be approached by couples who ask me to help them re-create images when they find the original images from their wedding feeling cliche several years down the road. Even though special effects, funny posing, filtered editing, and gimmicky angles and can seem really cool at the time, try to think how these elements will age in 10, 20 or 50 years. Your photos will be the only thing you will have to look back on your wedding so it's best to choose artists and vendors to create a style that will stand the test of time!!”
Image credit : Amy Fanton
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Your wedding pictures will be treasured for years to come, and you will want to look your best in them! Your hair and make-up is an important part of this, and Camilla J Collins gives her advice below:
"Ensure that you feel 100% comfortable on the day and listen to your gut when choosing your hair and makeup style! Friends, families and even co-workers may have lots of suggestions for you, but you are the one wearing it and you want to enjoy every minute of your day without feeling uncomfortable in a rigid hairstyle or too much make up that makes you feel very unlike yourself. Furthermore, these wedding photos are going to be around for some time and hopefully take pride of place in yours as well as your friend's and family's home so you want to make sure you look back on them and see nothing but the most beautiful version of yourself."
Image credit : Sovereign Photography
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Wedding cake tip
When it comes to your wedding cake, Hannah from Butter Beautiful says:
“Make sure your wedding cake doesn't get forgotten! All too often, couples are concerned that wedding cakes don't get eaten. Here are my top planning tips for making sure people are left raving about your cake:
- It may be obvious but, make sure it's delicious! A wedding cake is not just for show... Design is clearly important but so is what's inside if you want your cake to be a talking point on the day
- Eat cake as dessert -- an ideal way to save on the catering bill, too!
- Or, make sure your cut up cake isn't left in the corner. Ask your caterers to put trays of cake on the bar, walk around with it and generally put it under people's noses. Because who doesn't like a nibble with a drink as the evening gets boozy?”
Image credit : Nastja Kovacec
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Styling your venue
When it comes to styling your wedding venue, Nina from Occasion Queens shares her top tips to consider:
- Don't put your heart and soul into planning your dream wedding without thinking about how it will all come together on the day! Make sure that your venue and your team on the day know what is important to you, how you want everything to look and the schedule of events. That way you will have way less stress when it matters the most.
- When looking at your theme/colours/decor make sure that they tie in with your venue. You can still incorporate everything you want, just adapt the style to fit its surroundings. Everyone will be totally wowed then!
Image credit : Emily Jarrett Photography
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Whilst Pinterest can provide inspiration for your wedding, it can also be overwhelming and offer too many choices for you so do bear this in mind. Other fabulous sources are wedding blogs which feature real weddings & styled shoots which can help you visualise and focus more on a certain style or theme. Take a look at Smashing the Glass, Style Me Pretty, and Gay Wedding Blog as a great starting point for beautiful wedding inspiration.
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When thinking about your wedding stationery my top tips are:
- Factor in your postage costs. You will need stamps for your invitation, rsvp envelope and your thank you cards after your special day. Also bear in mind, depending on the size, weight and thickness of your invitation suite, the postage for your invitation may be in the next price band.
- I advise couples to order 5-10% of their overall quantity as spares. This will cover any last-minute add-ons or anyone you may have missed. Having a spare set to keep is also a special memento of your day.
- If your wedding date is during the summer months, on a bank holiday weekend or a destination wedding, make sure you give your guests plenty of notice so they can plan (and not book anything else in). Sending a save the date up to a year before is a great way to get your date in their diary. If you prefer not to send a save the date, you could send your wedding invitations 6 months before.
Image credit: Holly Booth Photography
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And last, but not least... your
Depending on whether you want to go away straight after your special day, or plan something at a later date the time of year will play a part on where is best to go. Take a look at our Honeymoon Guide to see what countries are best to visit & avoid on each month of the year.
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We hope you have found the tips useful! The most important thing to remember, however, is that your wedding day is ultimately about you and your partner. You will not be able to please everyone, so make decisions based on what you would like to do, and how you would like everything to look.