Wedding Planning


12
Feb 13

Wedding Planning Checklist – 1 month to go

Following on from a previous post mapping out the two-months to go wedding planning checklist, your final tasks for the run up to the big day are below!

Please remember that all couples have different requirements and tasks to complete. This is a comprehensive one-month to go wedding planning checklist but it may not be inclusive for your wedding.

Getting ready to meet her groom

Getting ready to meet her groom

The finishing touches before the ceremony

The finishing touches before the ceremony

 

One Month To Go!

Chase any outstanding RSVP’s

Discuss table design during your final meeting with the Caterer. Think about linen, napkins, chairs, glassware, cutlery, charger plates, and decor. If you need to hire equipment do this now

Give your florist an update on numbers of banqueting tables and final number of bridal party flowers required. If an additional usher shows up they will not have a spare buttonhole. Arrange a place and time for the florist to drop off bouquets, buttonholes, and corsages.

Meet with your Officiant to discuss order of service, music, readings, and hymns. Double check that your license is in place and ready to go

Send out final payments

Finalise hair and make-up style for the day. Attend a trial if you haven’t already done so

Confirm hotel bookings

Confirm all vendor bookings, including the time they will arrive/depart, the equipment or service they’re bringing, the amount of staff they’ll have and any information on dietary requirements for those requiring a meal. You will need to inform them about the time they can access the venue and the time they can collect equipment/breakdown

Ensure all transportation is booked. The guests to the ceremony, bridal party to the ceremony, guests from ceremony to reception, bridal party and parents to the reception, all guests and bride and groom from the reception back home. If you want to drive down a specific route discuss this with the driver. appoint your wedding planner or a responsible bridesmaid to overlook transportation

If you’re not providing transportation, print out small cards with one or two local taxis that guests can call at the end of the reception

Make a list of “must take” formal photographs for the photographer

Furnish your musicians with a preferred playlist. If you’re having an iPod you should create different playlists so it’s easy for the wedding planner or venue to locate. You may have cocktail reception music, dinner music, first dance, in-between band sets, etc.

Purchase any remaining decor, lingerie, or accessories

Place an order with the printers. You may need the following: order of service, place cards, escort cards/table plan, menus, table names, and anything else required

Purchase outfits for the honeymoon

Discuss and finalise the wedding procession. Who will walk who down the aisle, will the wedding party stand or sit, will the groom watch his bride walk down the aisle or will he stick to tradition and have his back towards her?

Draw up a seating plan for the ceremony. I typically see the first two pews on each side reserved for immediate family and the wedding party. Make sure someone discusses this with the Ushers. If RESERVED signs are required, order or make these now

If you’re having confetti, appoint someone to be in charge of handing this out

Start seating plan for the reception. This task has to be left rather late as guests will continue to RSVP or cancel at the last minute

If you or your partner colour your hair, go in for touch ups

Book any necessary spa treatments

Appoint someone to be Toastmaster for the day if you haven’t hired a professional

Assemble any necessary guest favours, confetti cones, welcome bags, stationery, etc

Arrange to have your mail picked up and pets taken care of while you’re away on honeymoon

Once the place cards and escort cards are ready from the printers,

assemble escort cards into alphabetical order and place in an envelope for the wedding planner. This will save him/her a lot of time on the day so they can focus on other tasks

Arrange place cards into separate envelopes based on the table each person is sitting at. For example, put all the guests sitting on the top table in one envelope, guests sitting at table 2 in another envelope, etc. To make this even more organised, put the place cards in the order guests will be seated around the table. Should the planner receive a bag full of place cards, this will consume a huge amount of time figuring out where everyone is seated

The groom should start writing his speech

Wear shoes around the house to break them in

Finalise delivery of wedding items to the ceremony and reception venue(s).

Finalise the guest list and give the Caterer a final head count, including those with dietary requirements

Bride should go for final gown fitting

Mens’ suits should be purchased or hired at this point

Wrap presents for wedding party and parents

Pack honeymoon bags

Select an outfit for any pre or post wedding events

If any vendors need to be paid on the wedding day put payments in envelopes then give to your planner. You should also have an envelope with emergency cash

Collect bridal gown or have it delivered

Collect groom’s outfit

Make sure the bridesmaids and ushers have their outfits and accessories ready to go

Drop off welcome bags at hotels, if necessary

Update the Caterer on head count should this change – including the meals required for vendors

Call all vendors to re-confirm their attendance and arrival times. Get all their mobile phone numbers and give to planner or bridesmaid

Select an outfit to wear for hair and make-up on the wedding day. *Wear a button up or zippered shirt to avoid destroy your look*

Send wedding day itinerary to the maid of honour and best man

Confirm transportation and get mobile numbers for all drivers

Decide who will collect items at the end of the evening: leftover stationery, guest book, decor, flowers, etc

Have a relaxing massage if possible

Set your alarm and make sure you have a back up ready

ENJOY YOUR WEDDING DAY! Leave all your worries at home and trust your wedding planner to do a fantastic job

Congratulations!

Congratulations!

 


15
Jan 13

2013 Wedding Trends

Happy New Year! Similar to fashion, wedding trends are constantly changing. Most of our couples opt for a traditional wedding and ignore the fad, but for those of you that want a contemporary and trend driven wedding see the below for 2013 wedding trends – I’m loving them!

 

Coloured wedding shoes

This trend has been going for a while now and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.

blue wedding shoes

via Fashion Choice

bridesmaids colored wedding shoes

via Fashion Choice

 

Patterns

Leopard print, zebra stripes, and Chevron are big 2013 wedding trends

zebra print weddings

photographer unknown

zebra stripes weddings

via a Wedding Cake Blog

 

Bling

Crystals and bling were a big part of weddings in 2012. I haven’t seen this trend fade in the UK, which I’m glad of as I love a bit of sparkle.

crystal wedding shoes

Studio Rouge

Crystal Trees for weddings

Pearl Pictures

 

Art Deco

I predict Art Deco weddings to be a big wedding trend for 2013. Think lace, pearls, fur, feathers, gorgeous jewelery, and silky materials.

art deco wedding invitations

Ceci NY

art deco weddings

Bridal Style Boutiques

 

Personalisation

Over the past few years weddings have become much more personalised than they used to be. Couples have monograms, they name tables after personal places, people, or things, and  they’re hands on with DIY projects. This year we will see even more personalisation in every wedding across the globe.

via SMP

DIY weddings

FlutterFly Events

DIY weddings in London

FlutterFly Events

 


31
Oct 12

Wedding Planning Checklist

Ah, the wedding planning checklist! With so much to do, wedding flowers, music, wedding invitations, table plans and so much more it can be tough to remember everything for your wedding. This is the ultimate guide for all couples planning a wedding but where do you find this guide and how do you know if it’s legitimate? There are thousands of wedding planning checklists on the internet, in magazines, and on blogs, but most of these only include the big tasks that must be complete and completely glaze over the smaller yet ever important details.So you ask yourself, “where can I find one of these AMAZING checklists you’re talking about!?”.  I’ve been spending years configuring a comphrehensive wedding planning checklist. But the truth is, every wedding is so different from one another that tasks will need to be tweaked to in order for your wedding to be successful. So please, I beg you, do not plan your wedding from a checklist downloaded on the internet or found in a bridal magazine. These are very generic lists that help you remember to book the big vendors but completely forget about the smaller details that will make or break your wedding.

I’ll let you view a copy of my “final countdown checklist” which is a typical list of tasks that need to be complete in the two months before your wedding.

Since the final countdown wedding planning checklist is lengthy and a bit overwhelming, I’m going to post the tasks that I typically suggest you try to tackle two months before the wedding. Your one month checklist will come in a later post so stay tuned!

 

For further help compiling your wedding checklist or for questions on the final countdown leave a comment below!

wedding planning checklist

2 Months to go, the wedding planning checklist’s final countdown

 

                                                        TWO MONTHS

Finalise ceremony music, hymns, readings and order of service with the officiant
Schedule ceremony rehearsal, if haven’t done so already
Purchase outfit(s) for pre and post wedding events
Order stationery for the wedding day. Order of Service for the ceremony and any other stationery for the wedding reception.  Menus, placecards, escort cards, personalised table names, etc- May be left until 1 month before wedding depending on when final numbers come in. Ask you printer how long it will take to print
Make sure gift list is up to date
Make sure all equipment has been hired.  Poseur tables, linen, salt and pepper shakers, table number holders, tea lights, umbrellas, furniture, dance floor, decorations, etc.
Reserve any parking spaces necessary for pre-wedding events and wedding
Talk to your attendants and anyone else you’d like to give a speech or toast at the reception.  Let them know when they’re going to talk, how long the speech or toast should be, and what the tone should be like. Explain the importance of sticking to timings
Go through budgeting sheet and send payments to vendors that require a payment 6 weeks before wedding (most will send an invoice)
Now that you have more of an accurate head count, order wine, beer and liquor if not provided by the caterer
Discuss wedding flowers in detail with the florist.  Think about every corner in the venue. Entrance, bathroom, stairway, escort card table, cake table, every room. Update them on wedding party numbers and final banqueting table numbers
Double-check the sizing of the wedding bands. If they’ve been sent for engraving, pick them up, if your ring size has changed send them in for re-sizing.
Start mailing thank you cards as you receive gifts.
Check in with the bridesmaids to ensure they have their dress alterations complete. Make sure they’ve all picked up their dresses, shoes and accessories.
Check in with the groomsmen to make sure their formal rentals are booked. Ensure they all have their shoes and accessories in order.
Purchase a guest book and pens. Where will the guest book go?
Purchase any remaining supplies, ribbon, carpet runner, candles, etc.
All gifts for the wedding party, parents and the bride/groom should be purchased by now
Compile a play list for the band, DJ, and iPod.
Select first dance then send to band or DJ. If you have a live band, make sure they will sing the correct version of your first dance song.
Liaise with ceremony musicians and discuss music for ceremony. Do they require armless chairs? Will the church/venue provide this? What will they wear on the day? When will they arrive/depart?
Book transportation to first night hotel if you haven’t done so already
Hire uplighters or a professional lighting technician if required
Decide where the cake will be displayed, when you will cut it, when it will be served, and how it will be served
Arrange a face to face meeting with your wedding planner and reception venue to run through and confirm final details and logistics. Layout of venue, number of guests, food served, dietary requirements, drinks served, where will musicians stand/sit, where will table plan or escort cards be on display, additional tables required for cake, guest book, etc., where can iPod be hooked up, where will speakers stand during speeches, where will cake be, who is the emcee, if required, who will move flowers from one room to the next, is there a cake knife and stand, is there an easel for the table plan, ETC, ETC. Go through all details.

21
Aug 12

Alternative Wedding Gift Registry Options

Gone are the days when couples walk around with laser guns in department stores tagging high balls, plates, pots, and pans. Most couples cohabitate these days and are therefore equipped with the necessary household items. So what do you do when it comes to registering your wedding? You could tell your guests to just bring themselves and send their best wishes – but we all know that won’t happen! Purchasing a gift is a traditional part of a wedding so below I’ve listed some modern ideas to the single department store gift registry:

alternative wedding gift list options

A gift registry for your Honeymoon!

Guests can contribute towards air fares, dinners, nights out, elephant rides, scuba dives, whatever you have planned on your romantic getaway!  Most of our brides and grooms are opting for this type of registry as the Honeymoon is a holiday you will never forget.

A gift registry to re-design your home

A handful of companies are offering interior design gift lists so the couple can start their married life with a fresh look to their home. Guests can buy pieces from the leg of a sofa to a chandelier to wall paint. If I could go back in time I would sign up for this!

alternative gift list ideas

Via JLD Designs Blog

A one stop shop gift list

I came across a company called The Bottom Drawer who offers couples a gift registry where they can pick and choose a mixture of gifts from multiple vendors. This might be money towards a new home, a massage on the Honeymoon, upgraded household items, or even cash gifts. There are fees to host your site here but the convenience usually outweighs these nominal fees.  

Charity lists

If you truly have everything you want, or you’d like to raise money for a Charity, then set up a registry for your guests to donate to a Charity of your choice. You can organise your list by visiting the Charity’s website or going to Give It.

Bride and groom on honeymoon

Via All Wedding Party


18
Jul 12

Last minute wedding tasks

Your vendors are booked, the payments have been made, now you’re in the final weeks before the wedding. There are some obvious tasks you still need to complete like finalising the guest list, chasing dietary requirements, creating a table plan, sending “must takes” to your photographer, etc, but there are other tasks that aren’t so obvious that are just as important. Below is small selection of the tasks you should complete the week before your wedding:

wedding planner london

 

Last minute tasks

  • Start writing a list of items you need to bring to the venue. Put this list on the refrigerator so you can write something down the moment you think of it. Items may include guest book, pens, table plan, escort cards, gifts, and so on.
  • Ask your venue event coordinator when your vendors have access to the venue on the wedding day. Also ask when they need to clear out equipment. This is essential information for you to pass onto your wedding team
  • Arrange a time to drop off and collect your items from the venue
  • Go through your signed contracts to see which vendors require a meal on the day. Approach each vendor to ask them about their dietary requirements then pass on the information to your caterer.
  • Decide where you want the wedding cake.  Make sure you have a good backdrop for photographs
  • Discuss who will be your MC. Your MC will announce movement of guests, announce the bride and groom into the dining room, announce cutting of the cake and first dance. The MC can be the best man, the wedding planner (me!), the head waiter, or a professional toastmaster.
  • Come up with a detailed ceremony procession. Who’s walking who down the aisle and in what order?
  • Where will your guest book be placed? If a table is required ask your venue or caterer to provide this
  • Decide what you want waiters to do in the event that guests ask for drinks not being served.
  • Tell your caterer if you plan on keeping the top tier of the cake
  • Think about transportation in great detail and make sure no one is left without a ride. Do any of the cars require a reserved parking space?
  • Talk to each person giving a speech to let them know how long the speech should be and what the tone should be like. Your food is prepared based on the timings you provide the chef so if speeches are overrun then your food may come out cold or even overcooked. It’s very important to stick to your timings and make sure each speaker is aware of this.
  • Where will honour attendants and guests sit during the ceremony? Do you want RESERVED signs?

This list is not inclusive of last minute wedding tasks.

Let me know what tasks you’re running into in the countdown to your wedding. I’d love to hear from you!

last minute wedding tasks

Pippa Mackenzie photography


6
Jul 12

10 Tips to Cut Catering Costs

You should budget around 45%-50% of your overall wedding budget on catering. No matter what type of wedding you have or what time of day it’s held at, guests will expect food and beverages.  Most couples opt for a 3-course sit down meal but I’ve also seen buffets, stand up cocktail receptions, and more informal versions of the sit down meal. Most couples are now offering canapes, a main meal, and an evening buffet so this can really blow the budget if you’re trying to spend wisely. Catering is not cheap so see my 10 tips on saving catering fees below.

luxury wedding planner london

Lloyd Dobbie Photography

Top 10

1. Save your meat for the main dish and serve vegetarian canapes and starters. Try risotto served in shot glasses, vegetarian rice rolls, or a trio of asparagus

2. Cut out the starter course by offering more canapes during the drinks reception and this will save on crockery, cutlery, equipment, and staff.

3. Unless you and your guests are champagne connoisseurs, opt for cava, prosecco, or English sparkling wine to add a bit of luxury without the price tag. Most guests won’t know the difference. I personally prefer cava over the other two (when champagne isn’t offered, of course!).

4. Replace the first course with a selection of breads and dipping oils

5. Serve wedding cake as your dessert. You will save so much money doing this, and guests will actually eat your cake! If you serve a dessert and then offer wedding cake, you will have a lot of leftovers.

6. Serve your food “family style” meaning 3-4 dishes come out for the starter in which guests serve themselves, then you see the same for the main course. This allows for a formal seated dinner with an informal service and cheaper price tag.

7. If you’re having an evening buffet, you don’t need to cater to all your guests as only a small percentage will eat at that time. I normally see less than half of guests touch the evening buffet.

8. Serve the expensive drinks (bubbly, specialty cocktails) early in the day so guests can remember them and enjoy the taste. Towards the end of the evening I always see half full glasses being left around the room which always go to waste. Guests leave their glass on a table then forget which one is theirs, or they set it down to use the loo then a waiter picks it up before they return. To avoid waste on expensive items, serve these early on.

9. Add a bit of luxury to your presentation by dropping raspberries into your bubbly, or adding small slices of cucumber and orange into each water glass. Presentation is everything and a small touch makes a major impact.

10. Serve cold canapes and a cold starter. Hot dishes require more equipment which means more cost. Also, if you’re running behind on time, you don’t need to worry about food coming out cold. Win/win!

luxury wedding planner in London

 

Happy planning!

Erika xo

 


14
Jun 12

Total Guest Experience

When you hear the word “wedding” you think of a bride and groom. However, weddings are nothing without the guests. You need to plan your wedding with your guests in mind as they want to have a fantastic experience too. I’m not saying to design your wedding to their style or taste, no way it’s your day, but plan each and every move as if you were a guest.

From the moment guests arrive, it should feel like every detail has been thought of with your guests in mind. It’s not just about making the room look pretty, it’s about making your guests feel welcome, letting them know where they’re supposed to be, making sure they have transportation to and from the venue, and giving them something special, treat them like royalty. To give your guests a great experience you must tap into psychology.

stephanie and matthew etherington wedding

Before the wedding even begins, I encourage couples to write a “welcome letter” for out of town guests. This letter will include information on local transportation, the best coffee shops, museums, pubs, cocktail bars, shopping, information on the wedding and any pre/post wedding events, etc. It’s a great way for guests to explore the town without having to do their own research.

To really turn up the heat on your guests’ experience, provide transportation to and from the venue. If you’re having a London wedding then consider shuttling your guests on an iconic red doubledecker bus. Providing transportation helps your guests relax as they won’t be stressing about traffic, parking, and who’s going to be the sober driver. It’s a wonderful gesture and is greatly appreciated. If your budget doesn’t allow this then consider printing off the name and number for two local cab numbers and placing a stack of these near the bar for guests to grab.

steph and matthew etherington wedding

There are dozens of ways to make guests feel special and welcomed. I’m not going to give away all my tips (!) but lastly, if you’re giving out guest favours, then have a strolling musician (like a strolling violin) go from table to table during dinner while a waiter personally hands a favour to each guests. Now that’s love!

luxury wedding planner london

 


29
May 12

Top Wedding Planning Tips for a Full Dance Floor

I always ask my clients what their biggest priority is. More times then not they want their guests to have fun and the dance floor to be crowded! To get the ushers whipping their bow ties around their heads like a helicopter blade, and the elderly guests doing the two step shuffle, then careful attention must be put into your evening reception. See my top wedding planning tips below for a fun and unique evening that has your guests asking when your next party is.

Top wedding planning tips for a fabulous evening reception

1) Hire the best possible band or DJ for your budget. Music is no place to cut corners so you should splurge on a reliable and talented band/DJ to get the dance floor moving and bring the atmosphere to life. Bad vocals and bad music equate a disaster and your guests will head home early.  Music truly is the soul of the event.

top wedding planning tips 2

Neil Walker

2) Place the bar in the same room as the dance floor. Guests tend to linger around the bar so if the two are together your guests will remain in the same room. If they are apart, the group will be separated.

3) Hire a lighting company to transform the room. Coloured lighting instantly changes the atmosphere and will take your guests into a whole new world. Top Tip: Use a different colour to the one used for the dinner. Give your guests a complete transformation from day to night.

4) Have your first dance at the beginning of the band’s first set (or when the DJ starts), so all guests are in the room and can join you for the following songs.

5) Hire a beautiful dance floor to complement your colour scheme and design. Guests love dancing on beautiful/unique dance floors rather than the traditional wooden floors. They look great in pictures too!

top wedding planning tips

6) Consider hiring a live band and a DJ. Band’s are great at getting the dance floor filled but if you want to move over to today’s hottest hits, or even music that’s not on the band’s repertoire then a DJ is a perfect fit. If this isn’t possible, pop in a iPod and dance the night away to your favourite tunes.

wedding planner london

Lloyd Dobbie


17
May 12

Wedding at Claridges, London

Last weekend we had an incredible wedding at Claridges in London. We had one of our favourite videographers take a behind the scenes video of the set up.

You can see from the video (below) that a lot of work goes into a single event. I can give you tips on working with specific vendors, but today I’m giving you a fire round of wedding planning tips for managing vendors in the run up to the wedding and on the wedding day:

Fire Round Wedding Tip

1. Contact all your vendors at least two weeks in advance of the wedding to confirm details, delivery/arrival times, collection/departure times, logistics, meals required and dietary requirements. At this time, provide them with information about venue access time, parking, and collection times.

2. Create a Table in a word document with all your vendor contact details and information. I like to have 5 columns; the first column for the vendor category, the second for arrival time, third for departure time, fourth for details such as what they’re bring and where they’re to be place, and fifth contact name and details. If you don’t have a wedding planner, give this document to a trusted bridesmaid and your venue in case there are problems on the day

3. Send your itinerary to each vendor in advance of the wedding. This will ensure they know what’s happening at what times so they can be in position when required. For an itinerary template, write a comment below and I’ll email you with my professional template

4. Let vendors know who the main contact is on the wedding day. If it’s your wedding planner then make sure they have her/his number. If it’s the venue then give them a mobile number for your contact. Vendors will look to one person for key moments throughout the day and when they have questions. There needs to be one leader

5. Make sure there is a room where vendors can rest and eat. Vendors are working hard to make your day seamless and perfect so providing them with food and sit down space will give you extra smiley vendors!

6. Contact your again two days before the wedding to double check everything is ready to go. Make sure you have the mobile numbers for all vendors as they won’t be reachable on their office phone

Happy Wedding Day!

 

Click on the link below and let me know what you think!

VIDEO: Claridge’s Ballroom 05|05|12. Password, if required: erika

wedding at claridges

wedding at claridges, uk

wedding at claridges, london


25
Apr 12

The Seating Plan, Top Wedding Planning Tips

Creating a seating plan is often the height of stress for many couples. You must think about family relationships, friends who may or may not get along, age groups, elderly who can’t be seated near the loud speakers, Children who may be disruptive, and so on…

I suggest tackling the seating plan two weeks before your wedding. Any earlier you risk guests RSVP’ing at the last minute and having to re-do the entire plan, waiting any later will cause more stress as the wedding nears. Plus, you need to leave time for the printers to get the table plans printed.

There are no rules when it comes to seating your guests, however, etiquette suggests seating female, male, female, male, etc., and seating couples opposite of each other rather than next to one another. I rarely see a traditional top table as many parents are divorced and/or remarried, so the modern approach is for each set of parents to host their own table with the bride and groom doing the same.

FlutterFly Events

FlutterFly Events, photography by Lloyd Dobbie

Below are some of my top wedding planning tips for your seating plan:

~ Elderly guests should be seated further away from the band/DJ and any speakers

~ If children are attending, their table should be at the back of the room near the door so they have easy access to the restrooms and can be escorted out if there are disruptions

~ When you handover the seating plan to your wedding planner, put a star by the people that should be facing the head table. As a planner, I often receive seating plans that tell me the order in which guests should sit around the table, but I don’t know where on the table they should be positioned. To help me out, let me know who should have the best view of the new Mr. and Mrs.

~ Put a single guest who knows nobody on a table with a talkative friend of a similar age/interest

~ Seat work colleagues together

~ If you’re truly afraid of offending guests, consider offering “Zones”.  Set up 3-5 zones and assign each guest to a zone where they choose their own table and own seat. It’s on a first come first serve so if they get the table in the corner they can’t bicker to their friends after the wedding!

If you’d like to have the traditional top table, see the seating plan below:
top-table-seating-plan
Happy planning!
Erika

 

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