How to plan a wedding
I get asked time and time again by newly engaged couples how to plan a wedding. If you have never been married, how would you know where to start. It’s nice if you have friends who have recently married and can step in an offer advice about the planning pit falls, the highs & the lows, recommend suppliers and generally be on hand to help you out. But for some of us, we don’t have that. The last person that they know who planned a wedding was years ago and things have moved on. So how to plan a wedding…
Where do we start planning our wedding?
If you don’t know where to start, make a list of what it important to you. This will help dictate your budget and your priorities. When I got married flowers were not on my priorities list. My husband is allergic so my centrepieces weren’t floral and they were handmade. I was able to make a massive budget saving there and so could spend more on other areas that were more important to me.
Fielding the ‘advice’
Whenever I work with any couple my advice is always the same, ignore the advice! When you start to think about how to plan a wedding everyone has an opinion. Everyone wants to help and that is not helpful. It is stressful and overwhelming. Only listen to advice that you ask for.
In terms of professional advice, there are so many wedding websites out there that can help you with making a to do list and helping you to make sure that nothing is missed, however, as in my last blog post, these sites are generic and don’t take into account different timescales. Try not to panic, I have worked with brides who have planned their weddings from start to finish within a matter of months and brides who are still 3 years in the planning stage.
Weddings are a very traditional affair, but as I always say, tradition costs money. There were family members who told me I had to have flowers, its tradition. People told me I had to get married locally otherwise no one would come. I was told who I had to invite regardless of how many people my venue held because it was rude not to and fielding that advice can be difficult, it can put pressure on your relationship and add extra stress that you just don’t need.
However it is important to remember that if your parents are contributing, they will want some say over things such as the guest list. Weddings can be very political so as well as being a wedding and event planner, I am also a trained counsellor (I kid you not) and I spend 9 years working in local and national politics so I can ‘play the game’ well and be there to help you manage that input in a sensitive way.
I recently came across a bride who had been invited to a wedding cake tasting by the wonderful woman who she had chosen to make her wedding cake. She was told that this was not normal and a complete waste of time by the people around her and was confused as to why she had been asked. But things do change and move on, I would never dream of recommending a cake supplier to one of my couples if I knew they wouldn’t get a chance to try it.
What is the difference between a wedding planner, a wedding coordinator and a wedding stylist?
If you do make the decision to work with someone it is important that you know what you are getting from them and there are differences. A wedding planner is someone who will work with you to plan your wedding, they will source suppliers, attend meetings with you and help to manage your budget. A wedding coordinator is someone who will be there for you on your day. You have planned your own wedding, sourced your suppliers and now need someone to be the ‘operational you’ so that you don’t have to think about anything other than getting ready, marrying the love of your life and enjoying yourself. A wedding stylist is someone who will dress your venue a create the vision you have. And many wedding planners can be all three but all three will be able to give you advice when you start to think about how to plan a wedding.
My venue has a wedding coordinator
As well as being a wedding planner and on the day coordinator, I also work as a venue coordinator for Honeysuckle and Castle at the stunning National Trust venues they are lucky enough to manage. Most venues have a coordinator but be mindful this isn’t the same thing. A wedding coordinator at the venue is there for the venue. They make sure the venue runs smoothly for you on your day but they are not with you on the morning of your wedding to make sure your make up artist turns up on time, they don’t deal with your suppliers and unless they have a trusted supplier list (and in lots of cases suppliers are on this list because they pay to be) they don’t help you to source suppliers. They will be able to help you when if you ask them about how to plan a wedding, but be careful, if they are a venue coordinator weddings might not be their speciality.
Why do I need a wedding planner
You might not! It might sound strange a wedding planner saying ‘don’t hire me, you don’t need me!’ But if you don’t feel comfortable then it won’t work for you and many people think that a wedding planner is for the rich and famous, it isn’t, a wedding planner is for the busy! A wedding can take 250 hours of planning and a whole host of different suppliers – venue, catering, transport, decor, draping, cake, bar, stationary, DJ, dance floor, photographer, videographer, hair, make up… and the list goes on. They will all need coordinating on the day, knowing where to go and when.
So,why should you hire a wedding planner? Many couples enjoy planning their own wedding and want to plan it, but a wedding planner can help with the less fun more mundane things, like parking leaving you to taste cakes and try on dresses. A wedding planner can save you money by ensuring that you only buy the things you need and they may also be able to negotiate discounts with suppliers on your behalf. They can make sure that you stay on track with your budget and on the day can make sure that everything runs the way that you anticipated.
My mum/bridesmaid will do it for me
Lots of couples ask their mum or a bridesmaid to be in charge on the day, making sure that things arrive on time and are where they need to be and for some couples this is perfect and they are only too happy to help and be trusted in this way, however you need to make sure that they are okay with this and it won’t impact on them having a good time, are they still able to get ready with you and be with you on your morning and would they be able to handle an emergency. What would happen if your wedding breakfast chairs didn’t show up or if the cake collapsed after the cake supplier left (both of which have happened to me this year). I would show you photos, but to this day neither bride knows that this happened on their day.
Working with a wedding planner
Working with a wedding planner has to be on your terms. Their job is to work with you, for you and compliment you. Be clear about what you need, about your boundaries and about how often you need communication. Having a wedding planner and not being honest with them won’t work. If they are stressing you out, not doing as you ask you need to tell them, otherwise, what is the point?
Wedding Planner in Doncaster
I might be a wedding planner in Doncaster but I am so lucky that I work with some amazing couples all over the UK and many suppliers are the same. If you find someone you love, don’t worry too much about location. If you want them, you can make it work!