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Top tips for planning a wedding, by wedding professionals
30 Oct

So you have got the partner of your dreams and you have decided to get married.  Where do you start?  When planning your wedding, there are things that are nice to know, and there are things you need to know.  Below are our tips for planning a wedding including some of our wedding suppliers, some of the best in the industry, that will hopefully make you say, “I’m so glad someone told me that!” 

How to start wedding planning?

The first step is to nail your budget.  Until you set a realistic budget it is unwise to spend anything.  It is a common mistake to forget the little extras like dress alterations, gifts and beauty expenses. 

The earlier you can start planning, the less stress you will put on yourself as your big day approaches.  Having a clear plan before you start will help you keep on top of everything and be sure you do not forget something important. 

One of the biggest things to remember is that whether it is the venue, wedding dress or suits, or the wedding cake you will need to make an appointment.  This will ensure enough time is put aside to spend with you, and so you can get the right information.

Choosing your venue

Before you start visiting wedding venues, get an idea on the approximate number of guests you will invite to the wedding as well as additional guests in the evening.  Also discuss when you would like to get married, including which day of the week. 

You will also need to consider if you would like to get married in a church, registry office or at the venue and check if they have a licence for you to do this.

“We do have a lot of calls with couples saying, I do not mind what date we get married.  However it is so much easier to check availability if you can be more specific, ie I’d love a Friday in April next year.  It’s also great to know what numbers they are looking for so we can check which suites are suitable.  Smaller weddings take part in our Beacons Suite and large ones in our Fairway Suite.” 

Catherine, Wedding Co-ordinator at Bryn Meadows

How to choose your colour theme?

Choosing your decorations is what makes your wedding unique, and enhance your chosen colours and themes.  Centrepieces, chair covers and bows and lighting help complete the wedding day look, whether it be an intimate gathering or a large party. 

“Embrace your venue! If they have a red carpet then blue chair covers might not be the right way to go.  Ask the venue what colours have been in the room before, or even to see pictures of past weddings, to give you further ideas.”

Debbie Orum, Wedding Gems

Get the menu right

Your Wedding Breakfast will not only fuel the party (literally), it will also provide a chance to infuse your personality and style to your celebration.  One of the biggest talking points at any wedding is the food – hungry guests is never a good thing.  From afternoon tea to a sit down meal with 2, 3, 4 or more courses, there is lots to consider.  You will also need to consider the evening affair which could include hog roast, buffets, BBQ’s or something a bit quirkier. 

You will also need to consider your guests who require a special diet and their allergies.  Ideally you can do this on your wedding invites; ask guests if they want a vegetarian or vegan meal or if they have a medical allergy such as gluten-free or a peanut allergy.  This information can then be passed onto the venue caterer.  Dietary preferences and allergies are the last thing the Chef will want to hear as it will put a delay on service or will mean that guest will be sat with an empty plate whilst everyone else is eating around them, whilst the Chef hurriedly makes something new.

Do I have to have a traditional fruit cake?

Select a style.  Choose a cake that is compatible with the style of your venue, the season, the wedding dress and flower arrangements.  If you want colour accents, you can give your baker fabric swatches so they can try to match the colour. 

You can also choose different flavours for the layers.  Some still choose to have the traditional fruit on one layer, but indulge with their favourites on the others.  Popular flavours include salted caramel, traditional victoria sponge, chocolate and red velvet. 

“Generally a three tier cake will serve around 120 guests.  You are likely to need five layers for 200 guests or more.  If the reception is in a grand room with high ceilings, consider increasing the cakes stature with a pedestal cake for height.  Always ask the venue to have a separate cake table so it can be a feature in the room, and easy to have photographs with when cutting the cake.”

Nerys Williams-Buddulph, Queen of Cakes

Book the best photographer you can

Research carefully and find someone who understands exactly what you want and meet with your photographer in person.  It is important to ensure that you get on well and so you can feel comfortable with them.  Engagement shoots are a great idea too, because you will get to know your photographer better as well as practise your poses.  The wedding album is how you will relive the cherished memories of your day.

“You can shoot at the same venue over and over, and although these amazing venues play such a huge part, for me it is the people that really bring a wedding to life.  I look to shoot all of my weddings in documentary form, meaning I look to capture what happens in a natural way.  I still arrange and organise certain things but working this way gives me the opportunity to photograph what actually takes place… the emotional rollercoaster of a wedding day.”

David Williams, Anderson Photography

Should I hire a videographer?

Did you know that not having a wedding video is the number one regret?  Although often overlooked, a wedding videographer really is an essential consideration for your wedding day.  It is also one of the fastest days, and many will tell you that you will see less of your wedding day than your guests as you are caught up in the ceremony, photo shoots, catch up with guests and then the evening reception. 

“Even though you may have a fantastic photographer, they usually do not capture the words spoken during the vows and the speeches and once they're spoken, they are lost forever.  Also having a filmed record or your day will be amazing to look back on in years to come, with your children or even grand children.”

Steve, Embrace Wedding Videography

What can you do to make my wedding more sentimental?

Everyone wants to make their wedding romantic and make it feel ultra-personal.  Pinning something to your flowers can be a lovely way of carrying something with you, a photograph of a love one or a piece of jewellery which can be visible or hidden discreetly in the foliage.  Some like to have a table of photographs of their parents and grandparents, or even great grandparents.

A dove release can also give your day something really special, an intimate moment for the couple to demonstrate their love.  A white dove represents love, peace, faith, hope and fidelity.  Once they choose a partner they mate for life.  They look after each other and work as a team – just like a marriage. 

“The first place to start is making sure your supplier is insured as many venues no longer let you have animals of any sort without this.  The condition of the doves shows you how well the birds are looked after.  Enlarge images to ensure the doves are perfectly white.  Question the supplier on how they train the doves to return, how they manage during moulting season (July- October), and also ask to see where the doves live, and look at recommendations about their service.”

Lynne Morgan, Lovey Dovey UK

How do I keep my evening guests entertained?

You can you make your wedding fun without breaking the budget.  You and your guests will dance the night away with a DJ or band, but there are other options for entertainment too which fits alongside this. 

Hiring a magician is a perfect way to keep your guests occupied, especially if the magician is a good trickster.  Everybody loves ice cream, a stylish cart who can serve delicious and fresh ice cream to you and your guests.  We love Icicle Tricycle who can also co-ordinate with your wedding colours.

Photobooths and selfie mirrors are also very popular.  “It is great to have keep sake fun photos that you can look back on and trigger your fun memories from your special day.  It is also amazing entertainment when your guests are not quite ready to dance, which can also help create a fun atmosphere with guests laughing and joking.”

Leighton Brookfield, Ultrabooth Events

Feel fabulous, but do not overdo it

Everyone wants to look and feel amazing on their wedding day, but keep your goals realistic and sensible.  If you starve yourself or spend every waking moment in the gym, you will be exhausted and hungry by the time the wedding arrives and in no mood to party. 

“Do not set a weight goal, set some fitness goals instead.  Then whatever the outcome you’ll be happy with yourself and more confident on the big day.  If you’ve always wanted a strapless dress, but don’t like your arms, this is something that can be worked on in weekly classes or personal training sessions.

Get your bridal party involved too.  A one day bootcamp is a great alternative to a boozy hen and is designed to kick start or boost your fitness as well as being great fun.”

Andrew Phillips, Fusion Wellness Leisure Manager

Do not fall for common beauty mishaps!

The main culprits here are too much fake tan, coloured-in eyebrows and too much foundation.  If you do not usually wear a lot of make-up, it may initially feel a bit odd but a good make-up artist will make your features stand out. 

“I love using Mii Make-Up on brides.  It goes on effortlessly as it is free from talc, synthetic dyes and chemical preservatives.  So it is ideal to enhance natural beauty.  Always book a trial so you can see if you would prefer a modern or more classic look.”

Katie, Senior Spa Therapist at Fusion Spa

Do not forget what is important

Ultimately, you are getting married to the love of your life.  Take a step back and remind yourself what the wedding is really about.

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