Guest Blog. Wedding Planning…where do I start? Jenny Wren
Slight to change to our blog as planned, Wedding Planning Part Two will be posted soon, but I was delighted to accept this wonderful guest blog from Jenny Wren Wedding and Events Planner and I thought Jenny’s insight would really help.
Wedding Planning…where do I start? by Jenny Wren
Congratulations, you are engaged, once you have peeled your eyes away from that sparkly ring on your finger, let the planning commence! If you are planning your day yourselves then I would advise you to break your planning down and give yourself dates of when to have things done by. That way these milestones will give you a real sense of achievement and you won’t feel so overwhelmed about how much you have to do, instead you will have a clear vision of where you are at and what else is to be done and when you plan to do it.
The very first thing couples should do before they even pick up a wedding magazine or the laptop to begin researching their dream wedding is to figure out what budget they have for their day. No decisions can be made until you know how much money you have to work with. Seriously think about what your limit is and speak to family members early on about what they may contribute. This is likely to feel awkward to bring up but it is important to do before you begin so you can then make plans for your day that are realistic within your budget and do not get carried away.
Once you have added any contributions from family to your own money for the wedding allocate it sensibly to all of the elements (venue, dress, flowers etc). If you have a wedding planner they will be able to guide you on this or there are many tools online which can help too. Remember to leave 10% for contingency to give room for changes. Create an excel spreadsheet with two columns, predicted and actual so you can keep track of everything that has been spent. If you are anything like me you will enjoy watching the numbers change as you add things in and it is so satisfying when things come in under budget! Which often happens for my clients as I categorically take no commissions from suppliers, they instead turn this into a discount for my couples, giving them the best possible price.
Decide whether you would like two separate locations for the day, one for ceremony and one for the reception or if you would rather have it all in one place and begin making appointments to look around potential contenders. Venues get booked up far in advance so this should be top of your list, along with booking your officiant. Ensure you have a pre prepared list of questions for your venue before you go to view it. Next up I would advise to begin researching caterers, photographers, videographers, and bands/music.
With regards to styling, I advise couples to initially spend some time thinking about their wedding vision, so what’s important to them both for their wedding day? What are the emotions they want to evoke? Forgetting about how it will look for a moment and thinking about how they want it to feel. For example fun, heartfelt, romantic, full of surprises, respectful of traditions, or one hell of a party!
Think about key words that would capture and define your day, this will help you come up with ideas. If you find it hard to determine what you want then think about what you definitely don’t want. What have you seen at other weddings that you don’t like? Defining your vision early will make it much easier and avoids those magpie moments that many people fall into, getting everything that catches their eye, with nothing pulling the look together.
Start early but not too early. Starting early gives you the luxury of taking your time to handpick your suppliers and means you won’t rush and panic book (and often end up paying more for the privilege) you will have time to negotiate and really do your research.
However be warned, your taste and ideas for your day can change over time if you start too early you may regret some of the decisions you made later down the line. Also if you drag out the planning for a longtime you run the risk of loosing interest in it.
Time and time again couples leave the booking of band, artist or DJ until late in the planning. This is usually when their budget is looking a little low and the music has almost been seen as an afterthought. In my view it is so important, it can really create the atmosphere for the day so ensure you think about it early on.
As the wedding draws closer be careful not to tire yourselves out the week before the wedding with all those little jobs to do, such as picking up the table decorations, folding the name place cards or writing the photographers shot list. If you do not have a planner then get help from friends and family. The last thing you want is to be shattered on your big day.
Jenny’s biggest piece of advice would be to not get caught up on what you think everyone else thinks or will want to see at the wedding. Yes you want your guests to enjoy themselves and feel comfortable but if you try to think about what will please everyone else you will drive yourself crazy! It is your day, don’t loose sight of that.
Lastly, enjoy it and if you are not enjoying it then get help. Your only ever going to do it once so do it the right way!
A Wedding Planner for your day
Would you like Jenny’s help to plan your day? Well you can, you might think that a planner is out of budget but actually you are probably wrong. Whether you are in the initial stages and need help to put you on the right track, the final stages and running out of time, or you are right in the thick of the planning and are feeling a little lost, Jenny Wren can support at any stage.