Sunday, June 6, 2010

Find us in the June/July issue of Your Herts and Beds Wedding

We are delighted to be featured in the June/July issue of Your Herts and Beds wedding.  They asked us for our ten tops tips to help you plan your wedding.  So, here they are... 

Tip No 1 – Set a realistic budget

Whether money’s tight or plentiful, and regardless of whether you are paying for your own wedding or your parents are contributing, you’ll need to set a budget. Try to be realistic at the outset and track your spend as you go – a simple Excel spreadsheet should suffice. In my experience, whatever the reception venue costs (including food and drink), add this figure again to get an estimate of your total budget!

Tip No 2 – Make a list

There are many different aspects of a wedding to organise, so before it all starts to spin in your head, take a deep breath and make a list – a long one if need be! You’ll find over the course of planning your wedding you’ll end up with quite a few lists – the guest list, the supplier list, the gift list, the DJ’s play list, his ‘to do’ list, her ‘to do’ list, the ‘things to do in the last few weeks’ list. Just commit all your ideas to paper, sort out what needs doing first and create an action plan.

Tip No 3 – Do nothing...

Once you’ve got your lists in place and you know what you need to nothing! There’s no initial hurry to book up all your suppliers. My advice is to sit and relax for a while. Cosy up on the sofa and do some research to gather ideas for your wedding. Look at what other couples have done and take inspiration from wedding magazines and the internet. You’ll begin to get an idea of trends and styles you love, and those that you don’t. You can also research suppliers and begin to discover the ones with excellent reputations!

Tip No 4 – Suss out your style

All that research will have given you ideas about the type of wedding that suits you both best. Will it be intimate, or an ‘anyone who’s ever known us’ affair? Will it have a modern feel, or would you prefer something more classic? Will you have a religious or civil ceremony? Is overseas more your thing? Will children be invited, or are they a definite ‘no no’? Whatever you decide, you both need to be in agreement, and if not, be prepared to compromise!

Tip No 5 – Meet potential venues and suppliers

Once you know the style of wedding you want to create, start visiting venues and meeting suppliers that complement your personal style. Secure appointments with at least three in each category and ask them for prices so that you can compare. You won’t always select the cheapest, but it will help you decide who provides more value for money. Go with your instincts. Pick a venue that feels right providing it fits your budget (you’ll know if it’s right the moment you walk through the door) and surround yourselves with suppliers whose personalities and professionalism will enhance your day!

Tip No 6 – Call on friends and family

Something I have learned during my time as a wedding planner is that there’s a wealth of ‘amateur’ talent out there. Some of the best wedding cakes I have ever seen have been made by family and friends. One of my brides designed her own wedding gown. The groom designed the stationery. Aunties have made bridesmaids dresses and friends have offered to create the floral arrangements. If you’re lucky enough to have such talent in your family and circle of friends, use it! It’s a great way of saving money and of adding really personal touches to your day.

Tip No 7 – Make time for small details

It’s easy to get carried away planning the ‘obvious’ wedding necessities such as your dress, the venue, the photographer, etc - and undoubtedly these things are key. But try and make time to think about details that can really make your day special. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that guests treasure. A hand written personal message from you to each guest, a reading or poem at the ceremony that you have written to each other, a magician that circulates during the wedding breakfast – these are some of the special touches that I have witnessed making a difference to the day.

Tip No 8 – Prepare your inner-selves!

Preparing yourself mentally and physically for your wedding day is just as important as making all the other preparations. So that you feel great in the run up to your wedding and the day itself, try to make quality time for yourselves. Get in shape, eat well, pay attention to your skincare regime and sort out your wardrobe. It’s really therapeutic and doing it together will be fun!

Tip No 9 – Don’t make planning your wedding the only thing you do all year

Yes it’s time consuming, yes it’s detailed, but that’s not an excuse to talk about your wedding from the moment you get engaged. If you do, the likelihood is that you will become bored and see it as a chore. Have an evening, a day, or even a week off together. If you have done all your planning up front, and booked the most important suppliers, you can afford to put away your files and do something else. Spending more time together will make you remember what all the planning is for in the first place!

Tip No 10 – Enjoy the journey

Planning your wedding will be something you’ll either love or hate. If you relish the prospect of designing every last detail, discovering venues, meeting suppliers and learning the intricacies of folding napkins in ways you never thought possible, that’s great. If you don’t, are time-pressed, or the whole thing is stressing you out, then why not ask for help. Allocate tasks to friends and family, or consider hiring an experienced wedding planner. Don’t ever feel you have to do it all on your own!
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