Ready, steady, plan!

Ready, steady, plan!

Q. My fiancé recently proposed, and I don't know where to start with the planning. What's the first thing I need to book and the best things to think about after that?

A. Annabel Candler says: Start by thinking about your guest list, as this will determine what size venue you need. This list can have definites and maybes to suit the size of the property that you pick.

Look at your budget to help narrow down the venue hunt. The first big ticket item is the venue, and everything else will revolve around this decision, so make it wisely! Think about your style, flexibility, wet weather options, restrictions, included items and staff personalities before making a decision.

Once this is picked you need the other big elements such as food, photos, videos and entertainment. If you're struggling with any of these, ask a wedding planner for some advice. Remember, this is a huge investment of time, money and emotions, so it's important that you get it right!

Annabel Candler, Weddings by Annabel
www.weddingsbyannabel.co.uk

 

Planning SOS

Planning SOS

Q. There are so many wedding planners out there, how can we narrow down our choice?

A. Roline Cyriaque says: The first step is to choose a planner that you're comfortable with. You will be spending a lot of time together in the months leading up to your wedding, so making sure you are on the same wavelength and get along. Before booking, consider these questions:

- Are they available on your special day?

- Do they specialise in the style of wedding you want to create?

- If you want a rustic wedding, then don't go for a wedding planner who specialises in high-end luxury weddings. Make sure your styles align as they will know the best suppliers to help create your dream wedding.

- Does the wedding planner work in the city or country you're planning on getting married in?

- If you think you have found the one, but they don't live near your venue, ask if they would be willing to travel?

- Can you afford their service fee? You may love the work that a wedding planner does, but you have to be mindful of your budget. Ask what is included as part of their service, for example travel costs, accommodation and a wedding assistant fee.

- Are you looking to have face-to-face meetings together on a regular basis, or are you happy to have video meetings occasionally? This might help you decide which wedding planner is right for you. Make sure to ask how you can communicate with them and what your expectations are when working together.

Each supplier works differently, so once you have asked these questions, you should get an idea of if they're the right person for you. Once you have found the perfect planner that is available, is in your price range, specialises in your wedding style and seems like an awesome person to work with, then book them!

Roline Cyriaque, 4R Luxury Events
4rluxuryevents.com

 

Bold and playful

Bold and playful

Q. My hubby-to-be and I are trying to think of a theme for our upcoming wedding. What trends are popular at the moment?

A. Victoria Rawlins says: Last year was all about neutral tones, and although these are still popular, vibrant colours are back bigger than ever! Couples are incorporating vibrant hues into their tables-capes with coloured candles and matching linen.

I've also noticed brides and grooms are opting for re-usable centrepieces that guests can take home. Olivia and James, the bride and groom whose wedding I styled in this photograph, had a Mediterranean-themed wedding with olive trees as centrepieces. This was a great way to be more sustainable and they created very little waste by gifting the plants to guests at the end of the evening.

A wedding theme represents the overall look and feel you want to create on your wedding day. If you decide on your wedding aesthetic first, your theme will naturally follow. This will help you keep your wedding decisions more uniform later down the line.

Victoria Rawlins, Blossom and Bows
www.instagram.com/blossomandbowseventhire

 

Boho chic

Boho chic

Q. My wife-to-be and I are planning a boho-themed wedding and aren't sure where to start. What do you suggest?

A. Zayna Ben says: Start with your colour scheme or theme first as this is the overarching element for the whole wedding. After you have decided on the colours, atmosphere and décor, the rest will fall into place. Your choice of ambience and atmosphere will help guide your choices for table and chair options, how relaxed you want your reception to be, and the venue where you want to celebrate.

Answering the below questions might make it easier for you to define your style:

- What do you lean towards? Vintage, romantic, natural or colourful?

- Where do you vision your nuptials taking place? On the beach, in a garden, barn, tipi, manor, church or a cottage?

- What season do you want to get married in? This will guide your choice of an indoor or outdoor venue and help you choose your colour palette.

- What would be your choice of food? Do you want a formal wedding breakfast, a buffet-style, a food truck or a specific cuisine?

- What décor do you envision? Is it something you want to DIY yourself, or are there certain elements you want to include, such as rugs, carpets, lanterns, macrame, wicker, feathers, dream catchers, greenery or flowers?

Planning a wedding is exciting with endless opportunities, so don't think you have to make up your mind and book all your vendors as soon as you've picked a wedding date! We suggest booking your wedding stylist, venue and photographer first. Once you have secured your stylist, it's a great idea to work together in choosing your other suppliers. By having your stylist with you when choosing your florals, invitations and table décor, you can pick the perfect items to create a matching and cohesive aesthetic throughout the whole day.

Zayna Ben, ZAZ events
www.zazevents.co.uk

 

Planning SOS

Planning SOS

Q. We want to find a wedding planner to help us create the perfect day. What questions should we ask before booking?

A. Roline Cyriaque says: Choosing a wedding planner can be a big decision, so you want to make sure you're hiring the perfect supplier for you. Here are a few questions you should ask before booking:

- What is your style, or do you specialise in specific areas?
- How would we contact you and when? Is it email, a phone call or a video call?
- How often would we have a catch-up meeting to discuss the progress of the wedding?
- Have you worked at my venue before?
- Is your travel to our venue included in your price, and do we need to pay for your accommodation?
- How many hours will you be at the wedding?
- What happens if you can't make it on the day? What is your backup plan?
- Will you have an assistant on the day?
- Do you charge extra for after hours?
- How many weddings do you plan per year? Will there be another wedding you're planning on the same day as mine?
- Do you have a portfolio of previous weddings?

You might want to expand on these questions, but use them as a starting point to help you get a feel for their services.

Roline Cyriaque, 4R Luxury Events
4rluxuryevents.com

 

The most wonderful time of the year

The most wonderful time of the year

Q. How can we incorporate our Christmas theme into our wedding?

A. Deanna Melia says: There are companies out there that create snow confetti, which is made from natural ingredients, so it washes away with the rain and is not harmful to the environment.

In addition to this, using lots of frosted greenery and wine red flowers is a great way to incorporate a festive theme. For your centrepieces use circular slates of wood with frosted holly on top with a candle in frosted glass. Moreover, you could frame the altar with fern trees covered in warm lights.

Make the meal the centre of attention with a wreath around each plate.

Use accents like ornaments, ribbon and greenery or frost on your invitations.

In terms of catering, go for a chocolate log or Christmas pudding and include turkey in your food.

Hot chocolate and throws are great gifts that can double up as favours. You could also gift people Christmas decorations if a throw is out of budget - it's something they can use, and it will represent your big day too.

Deanna Melia, Your Forever After
yourforeverafter.co.uk

 

Planned to perfection

Planned to perfection

Q. How can we find the perfect wedding planner?

A. Deanna Melia says: One of the best questions to ask is whether or not the supplier is specialised. Can they do any type of wedding? This is important because booking someone who is a jack of all trades means you may not get as much value for your money as you would with someone specialised. This is because specialised suppliers will have spent time learning and perfecting their niche. For example, if you're having an indoor wedding close to home, then you don't want to hire someone who focuses on destination weddings as they wouldn't be able to provide you with the services you need.

Moreover, ask to see their contract and their terms and conditions. Many planners don't have much wriggle room when it comes to this, so you need to make sure it suits your needs. Each contract will be similar, but little things may be different depending on the supplier, such as what would happen if a late payment was to occur.

Deanna Melia, Your Forever After
yourforeverafter.co.uk

 

Fun at the fair

Fun at the fair

Q. My partner and I want a carnival-themed wedding, but we're feeling overwhelmed by the amount of choice available. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Deanna Melia says: This is the first time I've heard of someone having a carnival theme, but I think it's a brilliant idea! To plan the perfect wedding, you need to ensure you have a budget in mind, as this will alter the number of choices available to you. Start by getting your guest numbers set in stone, so you know how much money you will have left for decorations and activities.

I strongly advise hiring a wedding planner as they can find the most suitable venues and stylists for you so that you don't feel so overwhelmed.

Hire a caterer who provides carnival-style food such as hot dogs, pretzels, burgers and doughnuts. You could even create a sweet cart and have lots of fairylights everywhere for when the sun goes down.

Bright colours would be perfect for your theme. Think of reds, blues and whites.

Have your waiters walking around on stilts in fun outfits, and look for themed stationery to tie the whole day together.

The most important thing is to stay calm, take it one step at a time and don't feel the need to do everything at once. Begin with your venue and guest list, and once that's sorted everything else will fall into place.

Deanna Melia, Your Forever After
www.yourforeverafter.co.uk

 

Plannins SOS

Plannins SOS

Q. I'm feeling overwhelmed by the planning process. What are your top tips for creating a stress-free wedding?

A. Alicia James says: Firstly, a very big congratulations on your engagement! This time truly is a muddle of emotions, and as much as you're bursting with happiness, it's only natural to feel a little overwhelmed. My biggest tip is to try and write everything down, even if at first it seems scary, write down everything you want your special day to feel like, a to-do list and any venues or inspiration you may have. Get it all down on paper, and then start to organise it from there. By having it all laid out in front of you, it allows you a little more headspace! Try to prioritise what you would like to get done and give yourself small tasks each week, so it doesn't feel like you have to do everything at once. By ticking things off your list, you will start to feel super productive and energised to do even more. The main thing to remember is to enjoy every single moment, it's a special time and goes by in the blink of an eye, so try to embrace it.

Alicia James, Alicia Marie Weddings
www.aliciamarieweddings.co.uk

 

Planned to perfection

Planned to perfection

Q. We've recently got engaged, but due to lockdown, we're struggling to plan anything! What should we book first?

A. Annabel Candler says: Congratulations and welcome to the world of wedding planning! Start by creating a rough guest list, so you know your potential numbers, then begin looking at venues. Everything pivots on that choice, from the decor and food to the accommodation and budget. I suggest getting this box ticked asap. Once you've found your dream venue, you can begin to tick off the next big items, such as catering, photography and the celebrant/registrar. Think about what are your essential elements and how getting the right supplier will affect the event. Keep in mind that the ones you want may get booked up quickly, so get cracking!

Annabel Candler, Weddings by Annabel
www.weddingsbyannabel.co.uk