Planning your big day’s very exciting in the early stages of the engagement, but once you start really investigating the whole process, it can become daunting. Very daunting. After all, you’re planning a big event and for most of us, this isn’t something we’re accustomed to. To ease you in, I’ve provided my ten top tips to make the process easier.
1.) Set yourself a realistic budget and stick with it!
Break your budget down into categories ie: Ceremony/flowers/reception/transport/stationery etc… If one category works out more expensive than budgeted for, cut down elsewhere to stay within your budget. It’s very easy to get carried away, so breaking it down will ensure you don’t exceed it.
2.) Choosing the venue
Searching and choosing a venue can be the most time-consuming and stressful part of planning your wedding. I always compare it to buying a house – you know when you’ve found the one! Don’t make any rash decisions, take your time and look at numerous venues before making your final choice and securing the venue with a deposit. Once you’ve found the venue, it will be easier for you to move forward and start planning all the fun things, such as the design, colour themes, flowers and the dress!
3.) Create a style board to be able to visualise your day
You may have a colour or theme for your day, but aren’t sure where to start in putting it together. Creating a style board is always a fun way of being able to see your vision and guides you throughout the planning process to stick with it. Look through magazines and wedding blogs for inspiration, cut out pictures form magazines to build a collage.
4.) Set time frames to complete each task
So you’ve set the budget, booked the venue and have a vision for your day. Now it’s time to have some fun! Using your budget, break your wedding duties to be completed down. Concentrate on one area at a time. e.g. florist/photographer/caterer/music – and don’t make any rash decisions. Meet with at least three-to-five suppliers/vendors from each catergory and draw a list of pros and cons to help make your decision easier. If you have a couple of suppliers that have come in close on each category, meet with them again and discuss your options further.
5.) Use your nearest and dearest to help you complete tasks
As well as being there for you to keep you calm and looking beautiful on your day, make sure you utilise your bridal party in helping with the pre-organisation. This could be as simple as researching for bridesmaid dresses or writing out the name place cards for the table. If someone offers to help, take them up on it – it will ease the pressure.
6.) Obtain contracts from all suppliers/vendors you use
Every supplier and vendor you use should provide you with a contract on paying a deposit. This should outline what is and isn’t included in the services they provide and their terms and conditions. It’s always useful to have a contract so you’re able to refer back to it if you feel someone’s not fulfilling their remit. If you’re not presented with a contract on paying a deposit, demand one and do not pay the deposit until you have read and understood the T and Cs. Remember, you’ll be bound by the contract once the deed is done, as will the supplier/vendor.
7.) Keep a record of payments to be made/outstanding
Put together a payment timeline of deposits paid, next payment and final payment due dates. This will ensure you don’t miss any payments and keep suppliers happy.
8.) Utilise the ushers
Ensure you give each usher a task to complete on the day. This could be greeting and directing guests at the church, aiding late arrivals, making sure everyone is on the transport provided back to the venue, guiding guests at the venue in the right direction, collecting the cards, and ushering them to be seated at the tables when required.
9.) Have a running itinerary of the day’s events
An itinerary will ensure your day runs on time, from the moment the hair and make-up artists arrive, right through to the first dance. Give the itinerary to all involved and run through it with them, including the groom and ushers, but have someone responsible in charge of it on the day. Ideally, this should be your maid of honour and on the groom’s side, the best man. Outline their duties, so they know what they are doing, where they are supposed to be and at what time. Also make notes of supplier telephone numbers in case anything should go wrong.
10.) Hire a wedding planner
A wedding planner isn’t just for the rich and famous and doesn’t have to cost absurd amounts of money. Most wedding planners offer numerous types of services that won’t blow your budget such as on the day management or last minute management. Both of these services will ensure all the finer details are taken care of and your day runs like clockwork. A lot of wedding planners also offer an hourly planning consultation service offering advice and tips on how to kick-start the wedding planning process. This may be charged at an hourly rate – normally at £35 per hour or as a package for a certain amount of hours.