Wedding Planning Tips

All being well this is probably one of the most important days of your life so it’s very important to get it right.

Trying to choose the right caterer and wedding organiser is crucial to a fabulous event as you will be working closely together for months and hopefully develop a great relationship of trust with one another.

Any wedding supplier should have glowing testimonials to show you and I would also ask for a series of photographs to see their flair for the project ahead.

Where to start

A good place to start is with your own mood board from ideas you have collected since the proposal. Let a wedding co-ordinator do the same and get together to see where you can melt the two ideas together as they will have ideas you haven’t thought of. Pinterest is a fabulous place to start looking for stunning photos.

Consider if you want a themed wedding and whether or not the venue can help you provide that unique event you are looking for. Any wedding venue can be transformed with swags and props and give you the feel you want from Moroccan tents and yurts to a safari lodge, a ski chalet or a French chateau. There are companies out there who can provide these ‘film set’ feel for something special. It all depends on the budget.

Selecting the food to match your theme

Once you have decided on your theme you need to see if the caterer can provide the food to match the concept. Many will provide you with a standard list of menus and prices and you will be expected to choose one. Remember this is your day and you have every right to ask for any specific dish you like without being told it will cost extra. This is where the special relationship comes in and the chef will understand you likes and dislikes with regard to the food. You also have the right to ask for a tasting of the food as you will be spending a lot of money and need to know the chef can cook what is written on the menu.

Catering for dietary requirements

Remember that when you are feeding a lot of people you are never going to please everyone. I have seen so many stressing about the likes of Auntie Alice who doesn’t eat lamb so the other 100 people can’t have it. It is one meal of their life and surely they can put up with it for once, there will always be a vegetarian alternative they can choose from anyway. Caterers are used to dealing with all sorts of dietary requirements these days so don’t be afraid to ask for gluten free, lactose free or whatever speciality is required. Remember to always let the caterer know in advance as it’s only fair to them if you want the right product on the day. You should always ask your guests to advise you in their invitations.

Working with your wedding suppliers

Once you have chosen your suppliers and booked the venue you will be asked to pay deposits with varying terms depending on their terms. Make sure you read the T’s and C’s and also establish when they need to know final numbers as this can cost a lot of money if your guests haven’t replied and you have paid for them. You would be amazed how often this happens. Once all that is done you will find things go quiet for a long time depending on how much lead you have given. You should expect to make contact with everyone a month before the event at least just to make sure everything is on track and everyone is still in business. It has been known for people to cease trading between you making the booking and the event which leads to loss of deposit and sometimes the full amount. It’s certainly worth looking at taking out insurance to cover many eventualities.

Don't stress, plan early

This is also a good time to start making a spreadsheet of jobs, timings and who does what. This will become the ‘headless chicken time’ unless you are organised. Sadly it’s the cause of many a tension if job specs overlap and people feel they are having their toes stood on. It’s crucial at this point for everyone to pull together and keep the all too familiar family dispute at bay.

Getting the best out of your photographer

When it comes to photographers it’s important to make sure they know what shots to get. Are you looking for the formal in front of a sweeping staircase or relaxed style. It’s very popular these days to leave cameras on the tables and let the guests do the work handing the cameras in at the end.

If you are using a photographer make sure they know the timescale as the kitchen will be in stress mode if they take 45 minutes longer to get shots than the timing of the food allows. Remember also that the photographer will be taking you all over the place whilst the guests are indulging in beautiful canapés. Ask the caterer if someone can bring you a selection for two so that you get to taste the goodies, no reason you should miss out.

You need to work closely with the venue a couple of weeks before by giving them a time plan of when all the suppliers are providing their bits and bobs. If someone is going to theme the room for you they may well be in 3 days before the event, time allowing. The florist will also have a critical time so the flowers stay fresh, the cake will have it’s own lifespan and requirements, especially if its’ chocolate or wobbly.

Tips for the evening entertainment

If you are having a DJ or band for the evening make sure they don’t arrive during the meal and drag their speakers through your elegant dining event. Ideally the should set up beforehand but just check. You also need to know if they require feeding and then you will have to let the caterer know. Don’t expect to pay the same price for them as you have for your guests as most caterers offer a suppliers meal such as sandwiches or cold platter.

Don't forget yourselves!

The most important thing is that you enjoy the day as well as the guests. You will be talking to everybody all day but you must remember to eat something and drink less than the guests or the whole thing will be a blur.