Creating You Perfect Wedding | Wedding Planning Tips from Jessie Thomson
Hello, today I am sharing something a little different!
A few photographs to from a styled shoot I shot with Britt Spring last September soon to be featured on the lovely fine art wedding blog, Wedding Sparrow and some amazing wedding planning advice from Mrs. Jessie Thomson! I hope you enjoy this wedding post full of wedding gorgeousness 🙂 this will be perfect for all of you newly engaged lovelies who are starting on their wonderful journey to planning their big day. Without further ado I’ll hand you over to Jessie…
1) Sit down with your budget
This is absolutely the first thing you should do – as tempting as it is to run out and find a venue, trying on beautiful gowns the minute the ring is on the finger – it really is much more important to work out how much money is in the wedding pot first. Which means talking to parents and having that conversation if you are hoping for some help from them.
Once you have worked out what your total budget is, you then need to have a discussion with you partner about what your priorities are – it could be amazing entertainment, or it could be making sure guests are well fed with free drinks all night. Once you have that in your mind, then you can go ahead an break down the budget into smaller chunks.
This is much more difficult to do without knowledge of how much things actually cost in the industry, especially when so many bridal mags still seem to publish unrealistic breakdowns as examples. It’s one of the many reasons why it’s a good idea to hire a professional planner – they can advise on realistic costs, and suggest ways in which you can save on less important items in the budget.
Be sure to manage your expectations – if you don’t have a huge budget then you may not be able to stretch to as much decor & florals you might have imagined in your venue, or perhaps you’ll need to compromise on having that free bar all night!
2) Build from the bottom up
It’s always tempting to rush out and decide on all the pretty bits and pieces when planning a wedding – but my advice is to start building your wedding starting with the essentials. First and foremost will be finding a venue and picking a date – be aware of venues with hidden charges and supplier restrictions, and if you can be flexible of dates then you may find it easier to book your dream wedding venue too.
If you need to get an outside caterer on board (e.g. for a marquee/barn wedding), then this is another high priority item. Your photographer (and videographer) are also incredibly important in your wedding team, make sure you choose wisely as this will be one of the most treasured parts of your wedding day memories in years to come.
Once you’ve got your key suppliers booked you can move onto the design element – which will then direct the florist, stationer, cake maker etc. Although you may have initial ideas on how everything will look, it’s always important to wait until you know what your ceremony and reception space looks like pre-decor so you can plan the styling accordingly.
I think one of the biggest problems with the rise of Pinterest and all the lovely wedding blogs, is that there are just so many wonderful ideas and DIY projects out there, that it’s tempting to want to do them all! With my clients I put together a moodboard and design plan so that we can stay in control of this part of the process, making sure the whole look is focused and pulled together – and crucially, making sure it stays within budget and doesn’t create more work than is achievable in the time frame.
3) Beware of DIY
It looks so easy doesn’t it? It isn’t! Not when you’ve got hundreds of other wedding related admin bits and pieces to think about, and not to mention your day job. There are a great number of wedding professionals supplying services and products at different prices, and the cost of hiring or even ordering something bespoke can actually work out cheaper than buying the materials yourself.
Of course some people are extremely creative and love being crafty on a budget, so if you plan far enough in advance and have the time, then go for it!
However please do be very wary of using friends instead of professional suppliers – even if their day job is in the wedding industry, they’d most likely prefer to enjoy the day and you won’t risk falling out if expectations aren’t met.
When you do hire professionals, make sure to get everything in writing and keep a record for future reference. Just because a supplier is new to the industry or less expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t extremely talented – but they should be upfront about their experience and you should choose them carefully.
4) Become an expert at compromise!
Often brides come to me feeling exasperated as they are juggling different ideas and viewpoints from both sets of parents, friends and family – sadly, this can create friction and arguments, and can make the planning process less enjoyable.
A lot more couples now pay for their own wedding day, but most still have contributions from parents, and understandingly want to keep them happy too.
My advice is to compromise and come up with options that are a middle ground where possible, but if it’s something that you feel passionate about then hold your ground… it’s your wedding day after all!
Just remember, very little is worth getting upset about, and the more you include and keep busy any interested parties, then the easier it will be for you.
Whether this is handing out jobs to those who have offered, or outsourcing to a wedding planner when things start to overwhelm you, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
6) Don’t let it take over your life!
My advice to all couples is to make sure you dedicate time to wedding planning but don’t let it be the only thing that you talk about.
Of course most supplier visits will likely be at weekends when you’re not at work, but I would seriously consider setting aside one evening a week to focus on wedding admin, and then giving yourself a break for the rest of the week – plan some fun and romantic dates with your loved ones, catch up with old friends and try to enjoy the time before the wedding.
One evening a week you can turn the TV off, crack open a bottle of wine and catch up on all things wedding related – use this as a good time to ring the in laws with updates too, keeping them in the loop keeps them happy.
7) Make sure you get insurance
It’s not that expensive, and you may regret not having it!
8) Try and inject a little bit of “you”
Seen a wedding you love and want to recreate the look? Great! But try and put your stamp on it too… whether that’s by more obvious nods towards your hobbies, or a more subtle hint at your personal style… just try to reflect your own personalities into the day.
9) Confirm, re-confirm & schedule
You’ve booked all the suppliers, so that’s it all finished right? Nope, afraid not. You really need to re-confirm all of the details and timings with everyone again in the final weeks, and make sure everyone has a copy of a detailed schedule – including your MC and in house co-ordinator. An independent wedding planner will take care of all this for you, but a venue co-ordinator (often misleadingly called a wedding planner) will only keep a record of basic timings for their own use.
Make sure you include timings for little things often overlooked, such as sunset portraits with your photographer. It’s also advisable to have a list of all wedding supplier emergency contact details and references in one place, just in case anyone needs to be contacted on the day.
10) Enjoy the moment
On the day itself, try not to be a control freak about everything! Just relax, go with the flow and really enjoy it. One great reason to hire an “on the day” co-ordinator is so that you can relax in the knowledge that they are taking care of everything for you – dealing quickly and efficiently with any delays or problems whilst you carry on regardless.
Your wedding day really will be one of the most special and memorable days of your life, even if the first dance isn’t quite rehearsed perfectly! Too often I’ve been a guest at weddings with a stressed bride or groom because things are running late or they’ve been let down by suppliers. By planning everything in detail, but enjoying the process along the way, then you should be able to avoid any wedding day nightmares!
And remember… it’s really only about a guy and a gal getting hitched. The rest is just a jolly good party.
A huge thanks to Jessie for all of her amazing words of wisdom, if any of you readers have any advice for or tips please leave it in your comments below.