The Ultimate Wedding Planning Tips with Natalie Hewitt
They’ve popped the question! You’ve said yes! Copious amounts of fizz has been consumed in celebration. The ring hasn’t been on your finger for two seconds and people are asking when the wedding is!
You’ve probably not had chance to sit down and have a conversation about your wedding with all the excitement of your engagement. And although you have a secret Pinterest board you’ve kept secret from your other half and you’ve pretty much already planned your wedding in your head, you haven’t discussed as a couple topics such as date, location, budget, style, guest list etc. Luckily for you, we’ve got the fabulous Natalie Hewitt with her ultimate wedding planning tips…
Firstly, congratulations on your engagement. I remember my time as a fiancée, it was special but also very stressful and my experiences played a huge part in my decision to become a professional wedding planner. My whole business philosophy is to ensure my clients enjoy their planning and have a stress-free engagement, so wedding planning isn’t for everyone and there are many people that either struggle for time or fear the thought of planning their wedding by themselves.
It should be the most exciting time in your relationship to date, but the whole time can be spent debating your budget, resolving family feuds, changing your mind about colour palettes, adding, removing then re-adding guests to your list. But fear not, although there is a lot to consider, I have a few to tips for you, to help you get started with your wedding planning to ensure it’s a little less stressful from the get go!
You might not have an educated guess as to how much you think your wedding is going to cost. The average spend of a wedding in the UK varies between £20,000 and £30,000 but this figure typically gives you all the wedding items you may want without too much compromising. Your budget shouldn’t be based on what your dream wedding equates to, it should be based on what you can afford. I would never recommend you spend what you think you might be able to save in time; money worries are the biggest stress and although this is a very special day, you should only pay for what you feel comfortable spending. Work out how much you have before you do anything; this will mean you have a goal to work to and will help to shape the type of wedding you will have. And yes, some budgets do change as you get planning, but setting a budget means costs won’t spiral out of control and you can set limits on the items you are going to buy.
The Guest List
The next important thing to do before you start your planning is to create a list of the guests you want to invite. You may want an intimate wedding, or you may want a really big party. But do remember guest’s equal money. They don’t just cost the food and drink you will be providing for them, but they will require an invitation, order of service and name card. More guests mean more tables, cutlery, crockery and glassware, which you may be hiring in at a cost if you aren’t in an all-inclusive venue. More tables mean more table centrepieces; you might opt for something less extravagant to keep costs down but it still adds up! Working out your guest count from the beginning also gives you an idea of which venues you will be able to hire. All venues have a maximum capacity, and some are quite small so only suit intimate weddings. So sort out your blue and pink pins early on.
Before you dive into booking suppliers, I would also recommend you think about the overall design of your wedding. It doesn’t mean you need to know every little detail or create an epic design presentation. But a simple Pinterest board or scrap book of images to give you and your potential suppliers a feel for the look you are trying to achieve will really help to work out which supplier suits your taste, will provide your supplier with inspiration and will help in the process of gathering like for like quotes.
There are so many amazing suppliers out there now and your options for a truly unique wedding are endless. But before you start booking people, do your research. You should be gathering a few quotes to ensure you are paying the right price and this will also help you stick to your budget. Researching suppliers is a great way to find alternative or possibly even better companies. With a few quotes in front of you, you can decide which company is offering the best service or product for the money; and I don’t mean the cheapest, this doesn’t always mean a tick in the box. Read through the quote to see what is included, read testimonials and go and meet them. Sometimes you get what you pay for and spending a little bit more may guarantee a better quality or more detailed service / product. Liaising with suppliers before booking them also gives you an experience of their customer service and whether you want them to be a part of your special day.
Your venue will be one of the first suppliers you will book, and this will set the location, the date and the overall feel for your wedding. When you carry out your research it’s a great idea to have a comparison list. Decide what key things are important to you and what you require from your venue. A few points to consider are:
– Where would you like to get married? You might want to get married near one of your parent’s homes, in the middle of both of your families, near your home or somewhere special to you as a couple.
– When would you like to get married? Would you like to get married this year, next year or the year after? Would you like to have a spring, summer, autumn or winter wedding? Perhaps your job dictates the months that are suitable for you to take time off. Would you like a week day or a weekend wedding? Remember if you are on a tight budget, a week day wedding can save you big bucks with many suppliers.
– How many guests would you like to attend your ceremony / day reception and your evening reception? All venues will have a maximum capacity but some have smaller rooms that others. Some beautiful venues just won’t be suitable for you if they can’t accommodate your numbers. If the venue is more important to you, consider cutting your guests list down. Also consider some of your guest’s requirements. If you have a friend or family member in a wheelchair, check the venue has suitable access.
– Do you want a civil ceremony or a religious ceremony? Do you want for a venue that can host you all day or do you need to find one that is within a radius of your chosen ceremony venue? Depending on your budget, you may decide to put on a coach to transport your guests from location to location. But do remember to factor travel time into your schedule and remember the further the distance, the more time will be eaten up moving guests from place to place.
– Are you looking for a venue with onsite accommodation or at least accommodation close-by? Not all venues are hotels so consider where you will be getting ready in the morning, your transport and possibly your guests transport.
– Some venues have a recommended supplier list that you must use. Are you happy to choose from their list or are you wanting more flexibility in the team you pull together?
– Don’t forget to ask what is included in the quote and most importantly what isn’t. You will need to know what items aren’t part of the package, so you can add them as extra’s to your budget. And check with the venue if they have any restrictions. For example, you may want fireworks but not all venues allow them, so this could be a deal breaker!
Preparation is the key to planning success. Make sure you do the majority of your research before you commit to booking suppliers. Creating your wedding planning brief will save you time and stress when it comes to confirm your dream team. But most importantly enjoy it! It can be so much fun going to supplier meetings, cake tastings and dress fittings. And if you are struggling for time or aren’t the planning type, consider a wedding planner as one of your key suppliers to help you create a beautifully styled and perfectly planned wedding. Good Luck!
If you need a helping hand planning your big day, get in touch with Natalie Hewitt now!