Planning a wedding can be quite overwhelming, especially as it would be the first time for most couples, with so much to think about it can easily become a stressful affair.
I thought I’d put a little post together in the hope that I can help a little to simplify the process, so a little while back I set off to spend a lovely afternoon chatting to wedding planner extraordinaire Andri from Always Andri and pick her knowledgeable brains asking what her advice and top tips would be for couples when starting to plan their own wedding. And here is what she had to say while she skilfully baked me the most delicious peanut butter cookies ever!
1. First of all you need to sit down and decide what’s important to you both. Think about what you want the wedding to mean. What’s most important to you, the food, the location, the music, entertainment, the pictures. Break it down and prioritise what it is that you want for your wedding. Think about three descriptive words like Party, decorative, relaxed. This is going to guide on what your wedding represents to you both.
2. Once you have that clear you can then set the date and put your guest list together quite quickly as knowing the amount of guests you will have, will help you in choosing the right venue.
3. Next work out your budget. It’s knowing what you can afford but also making what you can afford give you the kind of wedding that you want. For example if you want a decadent wedding, lots of flowers and details but you have a guest list of 200 people it is going to be tricky if your budget is not going to relate to it. Do some research into what each area would cost bearing in mind that averages that you will find in some magazines or blogs are not realistic and not correct. Have a look around for yourselves and see what you can afford for your budget. Once you have an idea of what’s out there you can start to allocate what you are going to spend in each area. You can do it as a percentage so for example your venue and your food as 50%, photography 10%, flowers 10%, etc, once again base it on what’s most important to you so for example if music is more important you will spend more on that than on a car etc.
4. Go and visit venues, contact suppliers and ask lots of questions, there are a lot of lists available with examples of questions you can ask.
5. Get insurance, insurance is very important, unpredictable things can happen, the venue may burn down, severe bad weather, etc
6. Meet supplier in person if possible, don’t be afraid to look for the right supplier further afield, if distance or time is an issue you can Skype. With things like cakes, try it, make-up, have a trial. Whenever you can try anything, do.
7. Make sure your suppliers have a contract and read it through. Contracts are as much for you and your peace of mind as they are for the suppliers.
8. Prioritise. Photography is so important, everything else goes, like your cake, food, drinks etc. Your images are what are going to last. So if photography is very important to you there are ways of saving on other things without feeling like you are missing out. For example with cake, get a cake that is the right size for the amount of guests you are going to have, if you really want a big cakes you can always have some dummy tiers, with flowers go with seasonal and so on. Talk to your suppliers and ask for advice. If you are really struggling think about getting a planner to help you out. There are different planners that offer lots of different options. They can help you right from the beginning and all the way through or just help you with consultation or coordination service where as a couple you do the leg work but the planner is there to offer support and advice. They get access to my knowledge and regular consultation calls and I will be there on their wedding day.
9. Look after your suppliers. Once you have chosen your suppliers it’s good to go back to everyone you have enquired with and you are not booking, to thank them for the information they have provided and for their time. It takes a couple of minutes and it is courteous and polite. If you are short of time have a template email that will save you time. As a supplier it’s normal to wonder if they have received your email, we invest emotionally in your wedding day, we do weddings because we love working with weddings, we give our heart and soul to work with couples investing passionately in what we do.
10. Get organised. Use something like google drive to get all your information in one place, like contact details, timeline, who is doing what. If you haven’t got a planner on your day make sure you delegate the running of the day to someone else, it can be someone at the venue or a family member or friend. You want to make sure you fully enjoy your day without getting worried about the little things, all you should be thinking about is getting married and fully enjoying your day.
Thank you so much Andri for sharing your expertise with me and for the super yummy peanut butter cookies! I am still thinking about them.
I hope this little top 10 tips’ list will help you with some clarity on where to start and make your wedding planning a bit easier. Of course if your are still stuck you can always get in touch with Andri and let her take care of everything or some of the things for you. Happy Planning!
Also thanks so much to Life Styled Planner for the free download of the planning page I used in the banner image for this post. If you are still looking for your ideal planner for next year definitely give them serious consideration, with five beautiful designs to choose from there is bound to be one suitable for every taste!