A to Z of Wedding Planning Q for Questions

Welcome to today’s A to Z of wedding planning, this week it’s Q for Questions and in today’s video I’ll be answering some questions about wedding planning from advice on last-minute weddings and my thoughts on wedding trends.

 

This is quite a long video (18minutes) , so if you don’t have time to watch the video you can read the transcript below:

TOP TIPS FOR LAST MINUTE WEDDINGS

Let’s start with my questions. I’ve got them printed out in front of me, so if I’m looking down that’s probably what I’m doing, I’m reading the question. The first question I’ve got, well actually it’s two similar-ish questions, so Mary Jane asked if planning a last minute wedding, six months or less, what would you focus on first? This also kind of relates to “how long does it typically take to plan a wedding? Is six months to short of a timeframe? Is it worth the hassle of doing it quickly or do people find it better to have more time?” That was a question from Becca. Yeah, I think they’re kind of interrelated, so I’m going to answer them both together.

Firstly, how long does it typically take to plan a wedding? I’d like to think it takes as long as you need really, ultimately, but there’s two kind of major factors that come into play when you’re deciding how long you’re going to need to plan that wedding. Firstly, is in terms of your budget. Are you going to need to save up to have the budget to pay for the wedding, in which case I would always argue that a longer time would be better. So think about what your budget is. Are you going to need to save? Are you going to be asking friends and family to help you with it? Because I think if you do, if you are starting from scratch and you haven’t got a little put away, then I would advise giving yourself a bit longer to plan the wedding.

But if you do want to get married quicker, I think the time of year you want to get married really counts and makes a difference because if you’re desperate to get married in two months’ time and two months’ time is August I think you might struggle a little bit because obviously August is a popular time of the year to get married and a lot of venues, suppliers, etc get booked up really far in advance. Saying that, if you want to get married in two months’ time and two months’ time takes you into February, maybe you get proposed at Christmas, you’ll probably find it’s actually doable and you get some really good last-minute deals. Venues and suppliers, they want to book the date, so in that case I think it is really doable.

So, I don’t think six months is necessarily a short timeframe. I think if depending on the time year you want to get married, it’s perfectly doable to have a six-month lead time on your wedding. Just be a little bit flexible. Maybe, try not to get married right at the busiest time of year. So for so six months or less, a last minute wedding, what would you focus on first? Going back to that other question, the venue ultimately is the most important. You really want to get that venue booked first. The more flexible you can be in terms of what day and the timings for what day of the week you want your wedding, will make it easier for you to book that venue. But I would say, absolutely concentrate on the venue and the big suppliers, so venue, catering. Photography, I would think is quite important one to think about too. It’s one of those things that you have afterwards (see my last A to Z post P for Photography) . It’s those memories things.

I think if you’re really up against time, you’ve decided, I’ve gotta get married within this timeframe, be as flexible as you can be and book those big suppliers first. Dress, obviously, would be quite important. I think where time becomes a factor is sometimes the less time you have it somehow limits your options. It can limit your choices and what your options are, so that’s where you need to just be a little bit more flexible with your approach. Think about alternative days, times. With the dresses, you might not necessarily have the time to have a made to measure dress, but you might find something you like at a trunk sale or off the rails with a dress.

Yes, I think it’s perfectly doable to have a wedding in six months or less, but it really comes down to how flexible you’re willing to be, what time of year you’re thinking of getting married. If you are ultimately really desperate to do it and you’re worried about the timeframe that you’ll have to do all of the planning, then obviously as a planner then I would say hire one because then we can help you with that  tight timeframe.

WHAT ARE THE KEY WEDDING TRENDS TO LOOK OUT FOR?

Next question, another one from Rebecca. She says what are the key trends to either look out for or avoid if one would rather for 2018, 2019? I think the trends question is always a really interesting one. It’s are you generally a follower of trends and fashions and do you want that to be representative in your wedding.

When it comes to trends, I’m not a big trends person and I think when it comes to a wedding, I think follow a trend if you love it, but don’t follow it because it is trendy because you don’t want a cliché wedding. You also have this all, oh, yeah, look, I saw that on Pinterest, let’s have that at my wedding. Don’t go for it because you just like it, you seen it, and you go, oh, look, everyone’s having that, let’s have that. I would say if you’re going to follow a trend think about following a trend that actually has a bit of meaning to you and that you really love. Now, in terms of what trends are out there and what things to look out for, I think botanical is popular, lots of flowers and greenery. I think that’s something that will always be quite popular and it’s almost a trend that’s not overly overtly fashionable as it were.

I think the problem with some trends is they can date really quickly, but then there’s some really classic trends I find. For example, botanical trends work really well. Also, things that I’m seeing is lots of hanging décor that can be really fabulous, and I think that’s something definitely to look out for. Just really personalising your day will always be on trend. It’s one of those ongoing trends I think that’s really important in the wedding industry. It’s really how can you personalise it and if it’s something that you love at the moment and it happens to be trendy then go for it and maybe if you feel it’s not as trendy, but then really you do love it then why not have it. You really want to make that day as personal as possible.

(check out my blog post here on To Trend or not to Trend)

HOW DO WEDDING PLANNERS KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING?

What’s another question I’ve got from Nancy Baker. She’s asked as a non-wedding planner, I’ve always wanted to know how you track everything. How do you keep each wedding organised?

Spreadsheets. Well, not totally, but ask any wedding planner and they’ll probably tell you how their love of spreadsheets. We are big fans of the good old spreadsheet. How I tend to work is a combination of things. Whenever I get a wedding in, I will setup a folder on my desktop and within that folder I will have sub-folders for each stage of the wedding, so in each aspect as it were, I’ll have the venue, the catering, ceremony, and then all the various different suppliers, and then I will setup a budget spreadsheet, and then also within that budget spreadsheet I have like a payment schedule with timings and dates and things.

I also have like an overall timeline for each client where I know what’s happening when, so we know that it’s at this point we need to be looking at the venue and then we’ll move on to this, and then work our way through. I like to think of the wedding in phases. You have your big things you have to do in the first phase. Then, you’re looking at the design stage and the nitty gritty booking of the suppliers, and then as you get onto the final stages, all those little things and the finalising that comes into play. For each client, I will have this main folder categorised, and then I’ll have an overarching spreadsheet with a budget and my timeline and I know what I’m doing when.

That’s really how I keep on top of it and I also have an online software system as well, which I share with my clients, so they can access it at any time and they can see at what stage we’re at. Yeah, so that’s how I keep it organised. As I said before, spreadsheets very much are a wedding planners friends and it’s very easy if you’re planning your own wedding to just use a similar system. Just keep everything in little folders, desktop folders, even have a hard copy folder, and just keep it all sectioned off, so you know what’s what, who your suppliers are, all the different parts of the day. Keep on top of all your budgeting and everything, and keep a timeline so you know where you’re at and what you need to do by when. I think that’s really important, so that’s how I keep it on track and I think it’s good advice for anyone planning their own wedding.

WHAT’S YOUR WEDDING GRIPE?

Next, we have another question from Inga. “What’s your wedding gripe?”

My big wedding gripe as a wedding planner is I’m a big believer in being quite flexible and doing as much as I can for my clients and  working with what they want. One of my big gripes is when I’ve come across a supplier or a venue that perhaps isn’t being as flexible and as accommodating and not working with you to have a really personal day as it were. It’s very easy to get stuck in your ways I think and some of these venues sometimes do and other suppliers sometimes do and I think for a couple’s wedding it’s the first time you’re doing this and you’re really excited and you don’t know how everyone else has done it.

And so, you don’t necessarily understand that that’s why you should do it and that I think that’s a big gripe I find because I want couples to really have the wedding they want and I’m really happy to work with them and be flexible and come up with new creative ideas and make ways to make it work with them. So I do find it a bit annoying when other suppliers aren’t quite so flexible, and they’re like, we always do it this way, this is how we do it, and I’m like well, can we do it a different way because this would make it more personal for the couple. Obviously, I’m not expecting everyone to just do absolutely everything. You’ve got to do it within how it works for their business, but I think it could be a lot more flexibility in some areas. That’s my big wedding gripe.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE WEDDING TO DESIGN?

I’ve got a question from Rosy. She’s asking, hi, I’m looking for some inspiration. What’s your favourite kind of wedding to design? What kind of vibe?

I love working on weddings that really show a couple’s personality, and follow a certain amount of tradition, but not really fixed on tradition. I like couples to who have weddings with a twist. I think that’s the kind of weddings that can be really fun where you like show those weddings that they are much more meaningful to the couple and they pick and choose the traditions that actually mean something to them. I always say this with my couples whenever I’m working with them is don’t feel that you have to bow to the expectation of what a wedding should and shouldn’t be. I think it’s important that you make the wedding what you want and what you love about weddings, so what is it?

I think at the very early stages of a wedding I would sit down and say, okay, what’s important to you? What do you love? And I love working with couples that are really open to new ideas and creativity and thinking that, yes, let’s do it this way, let’s do it that way, because we love this, so I love cake so let’s have a cake, dessert buffet, and/or we’re really into cocktails, so let’s make sure that every guest gets a cocktail. One of our favourite cocktails or reception drinks. You start really injecting a little bit of personality and skipping the traditions that they don’t necessarily like or enjoy. They don’t see the reason for having those and I think don’t be afraid to do mix it up a bit.

Do what you want to make a wedding that is meaningful to you. And those really are the kind of weddings that I love the most – the ones where we’ve really dug deep to find what’s kind of wedding we can do for this couple and how can we really make it interesting and fun and just meaningful to them, and I love those kinds of laid-back atmosphere. And what I love doing as well in is looking outside of the box in terms of what venues you’re going for. I’m really not a hotel wedding planner if you want your wedding planned. If you’re having a wedding at a standard hotel, I’m probably not the planner for you, but if you want to get married at some really cool restaurant space or some rooftop terrace overlooking London, maybe some really cool warehouse that’s all looking over the river, anything like that, which is slightly more interesting.

A bit more of a quirky space with a bit more personality. Even a nice dry hire space or blank canvas where you can really lay your mark on to it. I think that is always a great wedding. I love those kinds of weddings, so, yeah, I would definitely say that. In terms of the vibe, again, having that quite relaxed, laid back, make it a lot more fun. Fun for you and for your couples, I do like those kinds of vibes at a wedding. Just really relaxed, family and friends, getting together, enjoying good food, having a party, dancing, just really celebrating the whole marriage and the love, and that’s what they’re there for. Those are definitely the kind of weddings I love to work on. I hope that answers your question Rosy, and hopefully it has inspired you a little bit, so you kind of think outside of the old standard wedding box and look at those creative, interesting venues that you can get married at.

LAST MINUTE WEDDING TO DO’S

I’ve got one more question. It’s from Carrie. What are the main things people usually forget to organise until it’s really late and they are running out of time?

I’ve written a couple of blog posts on this (see here and here). There’s always lots of things at different parts that you think, oh, I didn’t think of that and I didn’t think of that, and I know when I’ve come into a wedding quite late and I’ve sat down with them to talk about their wedding, and I’m like, have you done this? Have you done that? And they’re like, no, I didn’t do that! I think one of the main things that often I ask my couples to think about is after the wedding, so people do think about most of the planning logistics, and they’ve been great, and they’ve booked all their suppliers, and then you need to think of what happens at the end of the night.

Where is all your all the stuff that maybe you forgot to find out whose taking that, what’s happening with that, how’s stuff leaving the venue, and then what’s happening the next day? Are you going straight off to your honeymoon? Will you need to bring your overnight bag with you to your wedding reception because then you’re going straight off? Have you got a change of clothes? Maybe, you are going stay overnight. You’re not going straight off to your hotel, so maybe you’re just going to stay overnight, but some people I’ve heard that they’ve actually forgotten to bring a change of clothes for the next day and they’ve gone to breakfast in a wedding dress. It’s those sort of post wedding things I think are very easy to forget in the excitement of planning the whole wedding day and you don’t  think about the end of the night and then the next morning, and then what happens after the wedding.

I always say, have you got an overnight bag? Have you packed it? How is it getting to the venue? Whose bringing it to the venue? How are you then getting to your hotel if you’re not staying at the venue where you’re getting married? Do you need to book a cab? Is there a family member to take you home? What’s happening the next morning or what happens at night in terms of your belongings at the venue? Is someone going to be there to clear up or are you going to have to go to the clear up or is the venue going to take care of all that? I think that’s one of those really easily neglected things in the fun and excitement of planning your wedding day, you sometimes forget what happens at the end of the night and then the next morning. Do you think it’s worth spending a bit of time to just think of that?

That’s taken me all through my questions, if you do have any more questions feel free to ask and I’ll be happy to do another little Q&A again. I think these have been some great questions and I feel there might be a blog post in the making. It’s been lovely chatting again and I’ll be back soon with my next letter. It’s been lovely chatting again and do feel free to come back and ask more questions if you have any. Enjoy your afternoon. Take care. Bye.

Image by The Woman and the Wolf

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