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Top Tips for Your Wedding: Not another Royal Wedding Blog

Considered by many as the biggest event of the year, the Royal Wedding between Megan and Harry is this weekend. Garden parties are planned, the bunting is hung, the fizz is in the fridge, shoes are polished, and dresses steamed. Our Royals are very lucky to have quite so many people around them to assist with planning, preparations and the day itself. In fairness, as it is considered a day of national importance, one would hope that this is the case.

Ok, I can literally hear you scream, “not another Royal wedding blog!” In fact, no. I want to talk about us mere mortals! And share some thoughts on planning for your wedding!  Nothing new or unusual but I wanted to share my key tips for planning the big day, how to remain cool, calm and collected.

Decide on a budget…

Know that this will change.

Whether you are paying for the wedding yourself or going traditional and allowing your parents to pay, it is vital you get an idea of how much you want to spend from the get go.

There are SO many variables when it comes to planning a wedding that having that overall figure worked out will help in thrashing out what is more important to you in terms of spending. Please know, as you go through the planning process these things will change. You dream of doves placing the ring on your finger? In the end you may forgo this in favour of an epic band or an extra few bottles of fizz for when guests arrive.

Pick the date…

The date that you will remember, every year, for the rest of your life. No pressure.

Not only from a sentimental point of view but as a financial one. Venues, marquee companies, caterers and entertainment can all be priced according to the seasons – SEASONS – HUGE in the wedding industry and determined by the weather seasons, as well as demand within certain months.

Be open with your dates, especially if you are getting married in England! We know all too well the unpredictability of the weather, you could have a beautiful summers day in March, and torrential rain in June, and yet you will be paying for the season that month falls into. We have to consider the odds, so have a couple of dates in mind throughout the year and do not centre everything around the sunshine. The weather does not make the party, you do.

Nail the venue…

This is a biggy but without doubt a vital part of the planning process.

I know you already have a picture in your head about your perfect day. Whether that is a rustic barn wedding, sea breeze and sunshine on the beach or a large country house that can be all yours for the weekend, view and ask questions. Imagine standing there surrounded by all of your favourite people.

If you don’t ask, you will never know. Much like buying a house, you have to walk through the door to know if it is perfect for you (albeit I have known people to book their wedding venue from the pictures and information online!)

The venue you decide on for your wedding is the central hub of your day. Everything and everyone is descending on this one place. It is vital that they can handle the influx of suppliers and guests, decoration and finishing touches and everything else you are entitled to swing their way.

Here are some not so obvious things to remember when choosing your venue:

·      How do the rooms flow? (We’re assuming it is a permanent structure, where you can’t move the walls, rather than a marquee)

Where is the bar in relation to the dancefloor? Are people going be too separated? Are the loos a million miles away? Think of the heels! Remember, keeping the party together is vital, a lovely quiet room is brilliant for those looking to take a timeout or sit a catch-up, but don’t separate the atmosphere of the party.

·      What is the parking situation? There is nothing worse than guests arriving flustered.

·      What condition is the property in? Some ageing around the edges is ok but is it clean and tidy? History and age in a building is one thing (and one thing we love) but dirt and dust are another.

·      Who is showing you around? Are they going to be involved in the planning and running of your wedding or are they just opening the doors for you during your viewing? Ask the question! You have to like who you work with.

·      Ask about payment structure and cancellation policies.

·      Ask out rightly about restrictions you should be aware of when it comes to music /  corkage / flames (believe it or not some venues don’t allow candles) / access for you to add finishing touches / what happens for the takedown?

Catering…

In or out? That is the question.

Your venue will determine your catering options. Many venues, such as hotels, offer “in house” catering, so you have to work within their menus and guidelines. Other venues are able to offer a selection of caterers or allow you to bring in whoever you wish to cater your wedding.

The key is making sure you get the very best caterer in! Now - back to budget – the best does not mean the most expensive! In fact, some of the best caterers won’t charge you over the odds for their skills. The key is service! Good food and excellent service!

Think about the vibe you want to create on your day. Do you want a formal sit-down meal, or do you want something more relaxed like street and bowl food or a hog roast? Different caterers specialise in different areas so remember to look at their menus in detail, if they don’t offer something you want, but can cater for it, ask yourself if there is a reason they don’t advertise this specific thing.

One thing not to overlook is evening food (otherwise known as drunk food!) A wedding is a long day and depending on when your ceremony is will depend on whether or not your guests have even had lunch. Providing food at 9 or 10 pm will be hugely appreciated I assure you.

The Guest List…

This ties in with all of the above:

·      Budget & Catering – Providing canapes, a three-course meal and evening food per person can soon mount up and this doesn’t even include drinks!

·      Dates – remember school holidays and busy times of the year like Christmas.

·      Venue – obviously the capacity of the venue will determine your final numbers unless you only look at those who can cater for everyone you have ever known.

Please remember, unless there is an extenuating circumstance, those who really should be there will be there! Don’t stress out that your second cousin twice removed, who you have met four times in your whole life, can’t make it.

You will lose approximately 10% of the people you invite – so work these margins into your budget!

The fluffy stuff…

Try, please, please, please try not to get to pulled under by all the fluffy stuff! Ok, Pinterest is AWESOME and the ideas are endless, and yes, we love a LOT of them, but still… Not everything you see and love has to be a part of your wedding. Unless you have a wedding stylist bringing all of these things together for you, you may stress yourself, family, friends and future life partner out sorting all of these details!

Breath - What is really important? What will make an impact?

Don’t get me wrong, the small finishing touches are key and important to personalise your wedding, but there is such a thing as too much. Just think about it. The sanity of you all is surely more important?

Finally...

Enjoy it and make it yours. Too often I have seen brides and grooms worry too much about the opinions of their guests. Create the day that is all you, as a couple. That is why your guests are with you because they love you for who you are.

It will be the most amazing and surreal experience. After your reception, take each other’s hands. Get away from everyone. Stop walking. Stop talking. Take a deep breath. Look around. Absorb all of it! Take a mental picture. Take note of how you feel at that exact point. It will quite possibly be the happiest you have ever been.