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Top 10 Questions To Ask Your … Band/DJ/Musician & Why

Now for some couples music is a key factor in their wedding day, whereas for others it is there to provide a bit of background noise. However, there is no denying that music is an important part of every big day and how you choose to incorporate it is completely up to you.

I have put together my top tips of what to ask when sourcing your musical entertainment, whether that be in the form of a musician, band, DJ or all three.

Insider Knowledge

Establish early on how much of your budget you want to dedicate to music and entertainment. There is no right or wrong percentage for this. Typically couples tend to allocate 7% of their budget to entertainment.

1. What type of music do you play?

Top Tip

You may love a musician, however they just don’t play the style of music you like. Then be honest with yourselves, they just aren’t the right fit for you and your big day. Find someone who plays the type of music you are looking for, this will be much more effective on the day as they will be comfortable and experienced in the music style they are playing.

2. We love a song which isn’t part of your usual repertoire, are you able to play this for us?

3. Are we able to provide you with a playlist?

4. Are you performing anywhere locally before our big day so we can listen to you live?

Insider Knowledge

I would always advise, where possible, that you try to listen to your chosen musician live before you go ahead and book them. This way you get an understanding of them as a performer and their musical repertoire. Check with your chosen venue to see if they have any open days/wedding fayres coming up, as they will likely have musicians attending.

5. How long will you play for on the day? Do you break this up into sets?

Things To Consider

Now this will completely depend on what part of your day you are discussing. During your drinks reception and evening reception most musicians will play two sets with a small break in between. However, it’s important you establish this early on, so you know if you may need to arrange for additional music to play during the interlude.

6. Have you worked at our venue before?

7. What time will you arrive to set up and what access do you require?

8. Do you provide your own equipment and is there anything you require from our venue?

9. Are you able to provide our venue with your public liability insurance documentation?

10. How many musicians will there be on the day?

Insider Knowledge

It is really important to ask this. Some bands and musical ensembles allow you to hire different elements/quantities of the band/musicians. For instance, you might have one singer as standard, but have the option to add another for an additional cost.

Working out how best to allocate your entertainment budget may seem tricky. However, I would also advise you to consider what is important to you as a couple. What types of music do you love and where might they tie into your day best?

I would however, always advise that you include at least one aspect of live music. Whether this be a string quartet playing you down the aisle, or a mariachi band getting everyone onto the dance floor in the evening. Live music brings your guests to life and not only keeps them entertained, but gives them something to talk about. Do keep this in mind when allocating your budget.

Images by Harvey Salvador / George Becker


Top 10 Questions To Ask Your … Venue & Why

Your venue is probably the biggest wedding planning decision you will both make. It’s not only where you will spend most of your wedding, but sets the tone for your whole day. This may all seem very new, as it is most likely the first decision you will be making, but don’t worry. I’ve put together my list of top 10 questions to ask your venue for this very reason. With these 10 questions in mind, then you can’t go wrong when viewing your favorite venues.

1. What availability do you have for our big day?

Top Tip

If you have a date in mind then make sure to start with this. However, be aware that some venues book up two years in advance. So, if you love the venue you may have to be flexible.

One of the grand public rooms licensed for civil ceremonies at Grantley Hall

2. What rooms/areas of the property are available for us to have a blessing or a civil ceremony?

3. Is there an additional charge to have a civil ceremony onsite?

Things To Consider

Do bare in mind that some venues will apply a ceremony charge. If you are getting married off site, then you may find this isn’t included. It is always worth asking so you know the full cost breakdown when comaring venues.

4. Do you offer catering in-house or can we use an outside caterer?

Top Tip

Venue such as hotels and stately homes traditionally have an in-house caterer who they require you to use. However, some venues such as barns, marquess and village hall’s don’t have a set caterer and allow you to outsource whoever you like. This can be a deal breaker for some couples. So, establishing how important this is to you early on is important.

5. What time will we have the property to and from?

Things To Consider

This is key to know early on for many reasons. You may wish to set up the day prior, if you have a DIY venue or may want to have a relaxed evening with close friends and family. All things you can’t do if you don’t have day prior access.

This will also be something your suppliers are sure to ask, so finding out early will help with the rest of your planning.

6. Do you offer on-site accommodation?

7. Do you offer exclusive use and is this included in your wedding packages or at an additional cost?

Insider Knowledge

Some venues offer exclusive use to all of their couples, no matter what day of the week or time of the year. However, be mindful that some venues such as hotels may only offer this at an additional fee, if they are able to offer it at all. Another thing to consider early on in your planning process.

8. Are we required to use your list of suppliers or are you happy for us to use any suppliers we wish?

Insider Knowledge

Now this really does depend on the venue. Some venues offer a list of recommend suppliers, as a guide of who they have worked with before and who they feel will provide a good service. However, these venues may also be happy for you to use suppliers of your own choosing, as long as they provide the correct documentation.

On the other hand, some suppliers only allow you to use their recommendations. Check if this is applicable for all of your on the day suppliers or just specific ones, such as your caterer. Knowing the venues expectations early on is key.

With views over Bolton Abbey Prior, what’s not to love about The Tithe Barn

9. Are there any restrictions in place that we need to be mindful of when planning our wedding?

Top Tip

This can be a real sticking point for couples in the later stages of their wedding planning. Some venues/buildings have a listed status or restrictions on what you can do. For instance, you may wish to have a hanging floral display above your top table, however your venue may be unable to accommodate this due to their building restrictions.

You may wish to have a band for your evening reception, however the venues noise restriction only allows for them to have a DJ until 10:30pm.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to find out if your venue has any limitations or restrictions before you sign a contract. Avoid any later disappointment, you never know where your planning may take you.

10. What would be the next steps if we decided to book?

Picking a venue for your big day has to be one of the most important decisions you will make. For more tips and advice on how I can help get your planning underway, please get in touch!

All Images by Hannah Rachael Weddings


Top 10 Questions To Ask Your … Cake Maker & Why

Hopefully by now you will have booked your venue, caterer and photographer and will now be looking to finalise the finer details of your day. Without a doubt, choosing a cake maker is one of the best and tastiest parts of wedding planning, trust me! However, your cake can say a lot about the style of your wedding and therefore may take a lot more thought than you had first realised. With this in mind, I am here to help guide you in selecting the right cake maker for you. The right designer will help you to create a cake truly reflective of your overall wedding ‘look’.

Top Tip

I would always recommend you visiting any wedding fayres/open day’s your venue may hold. This is a great opportunity for you to speak to the recommended cake makers, sample some cake and see their designs first hand. This is crucial, as it is likley you won’t have another opportunity to sample their cakes before you put a deposit down.

1. What style of cakes do you make and do you have any imagery you could show us?

Things To Consider

This is so important to ask in your initial discussion, as each cake maker offers a different style. If you have your heart set on a beautifully iced cake with hand painted detailing, then a maker who only offers semi-naked cakes just isn’t the right fit for you. Make sure to have a look on Instagram and Facebook to see what style of cakes they design before you even contact a designer.

2. What flavours are you able to offer?

Top Tip

Again flavours can be such a make or break for some couples. If you love a certain flavour speak to your maker to see if they offer this or if there is some flexibility if not. It’s important to have a cake both you and your guests are going to want to dive into.

3. Do you have our wedding date available?

4. How many tiers/what size cake would you advise for our guest numbers?

5. How much of a deposit do you require?

6. Will you deliver and display our cake on our wedding day?

Insider Knowledge

It is very rare that your wedding cake maker would not deliver and set up your wedding cake on the day. They want to make sure it is perfect for the big reveal and wouldn’t want anyone touching or moving it.

7. Is delivery and set up included in our quotation?

8. Will we be able to come in for a cake tasting and how many flavours will we be able to sample?

Things To Consider

A cake tasting is such an important part in your wedding planning, not to mention one of the most delicious. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know your cake maker. It is also a great indication of how amazing your cake is going to taste on your big day. It is also a brilliant time to discuss any design ideas you may have. Make sure to bring any imagery, colour palettes and ideas you have to discuss in further detail. You want to leave this appointment knowing they have a clear idea of the cake you are hoping to achieve.

9. Will you send us a design/drawing of our wedding cake for us to approve as part of the process?

10. Can we also hire a cake stand from you and are there different options to choose from?

Make sure to enjoy this part of your planning. It’s fun to see all the little details come together and to see your wedding come to life. It’s also some of the best cake you will ever try in your life, so enjoy!

Images by Wynn Davies Photography / 3 Tier Wedding Cake by Poppy Pickering / Dessert Table by The Whimsical Cake Company


Top 10 Questions To Ask Your … Photographer & Why

Hopefully the below questions and tips will give you both an idea of what types of questions to ask your photographer(s) in order to get the most out of your initial consultation.

I would always recommend booking your photographer, as early as possible, as they are only able to capture one wedding a day and therefore get booked well over a year in advance. Another top tip, where possible, would be to arrange a face-to-face consultation with your photographer, before booking to make sure they are the right fit for you.

1. Can you show us some examples of your most recent work?

2. How would you describe your style?

3. How do you work with your couples on the day?

Top Tip

It is important to establish how your photographer(s) like to work. Do they like to capture mostly posed shots or more natural, observant ones? You will get a good idea of this from looking at their work.

It is important their style fits your personalities. If you hate being in front of the camera, the last thing you want is to spend half of your day posing for photos!

4. How many photographers will there be on the day?

Things To Consider

Some photographers always work in pairs, where as others charge an additional fee for an additional photographer to shoot your big day.

It is important you find this out before you get to contracting stage.

5. Have you worked at our chosen venue before?

Insider Knowledge

This is a really important question to ask, as your photographer only gets on shot at photographing your big day. You therefore don’t want to leave anything to chance.

If your photographer hasn’t been to your venue before, make sure you have it written into your contact that they are to visit it prior to your big day. It is really important they understand the layout of your venues as well as the grounds, so they are able to capture the best images of you, your family and friends.

It is always good to invite them along to one of your venue meetings, so they can meet the venue co-ordinator and get an understanding for the venue and what photos you want them to capture.

6. Do you offer an engagement shoot?

Top Tip

A lot of couples find the thought of someone following them around all day, with a camera pretty nerve racking.

An engagement shoot is therefore perfect way for you to get to know your photographer(s) ahead of your big day.

It is also a great way for you to find out their style and most importantly, what you like and don’t like. Use this as an opportunity to discuss the styles of photos you hope to achieve.

7. How many photos will we receive and in what format?

8. Is an album included in our quotation or is this at an additional cost?

9. How long will you be there on the day?

10. Can we provide a list of the key photos we would like you to take?

Image by Md Iftekhar Uddin Emon


Top 10 Questions To Ask Your … Caterer & Why

I have created a list of must ask questions to consider when sourcing your wedding caterer.
The food served at your wedding is likely to be one of the biggest investments after your venue, so why take any risks!
Follow our step by step guide on what to ask your prospective caterer and why these questions are so important for you to be able to  make an informed decision.

  1. What is your catering style?

Top Tip

Depending on the caterers style they will be able to offer different menu choices. It is important to establish their style early on as you don’t want this to clash with your vision.

2. What menus do you have to offer?

3. Where do you source your produce from?

Insider Knowledge

If your caterer sources local/organic produce will this effect what you will be offered on your wedding day?

4. Have you worked at my chosen venue before?

5. Do you charge a set up fee? If so what does this cover? (applicable for outside caterers)

6. Do you offer a menu tasting?

Top Tip

Ask how many people can attend your tasting, how much it costs and what you will get to try.

7. How do you caterer for guests with dietaries/allergies?

Insider Knowledge

In my experience all caterers will provide a vegetarian/vegan option for guests as standard. They will also tweak your menu to cater for any guests who may be gluten free etc. Ask them to confirm how they will cater for this on your day and if this needs to be incorporated into your menu choices.

8. What age do you class a child as?

9. How many staff member will be present at our wedding and how will service run?

10. If we decide to confirm our catering with you, what are the next steps?

Things To Consider

It is really important to ask about the next steps as you don’t want any nasty surprises once you have signed your contract.

– You need to ask what installments are due and when.

– When your final numbers need to be confirmed by.

– Is there leeway on your contracted numbers (are you allowed to decrease or increase these after your contract has been signed?)

Questions Your Caterer Should Be Asking You

It is important to go into your initial consultation knowing what to expect so you don’t feel caught out or under prepared. That’s why we’ve created a list of all the questions your prospective wedding caterer should be asking you! A lot of the questions you will be asked during this consultation, will be important in accessing the style, feel and expectation you have for your big day. So we would definitely recommend you consider not necessarily all, but some of the below questions before your 1st appointment.

1. What venue are you getting married at?

2. What time of year are you planing on getting married?

*Seasonality will change what produce is available for your caterer, especially if your cater produces themselves on using local and organic produce.*

4. What style of catering are you wanting to achieve?

*They will want to know if you are looking for a relaxed catering style or formal plated / what you like and dislike / the styles of food you would like to offer.*

5. Roughly how many day and evening guests will you be inviting?

*Again this is important for your caterer to know as they may be able to suggest different menus for different guest numbers.*

5.  How many of these will be children?

*All caterers will have a different cut off for the age a child is classed as an adult.*

Image by Michelle Riach


Top 10 Questions To Ask Your … Florist & Why

I have created a list of questions to ask when speaking to your floral designer for the 1st time.
Whether you are crazy about all things florals or just want something to add interest to your tables, it is important to find the right florist for you.
We have considered every little detail in order to help you find the right designer for you!

1. What types of flowers and foliage’s are seasonal to our wedding date?

Things To Consider

It is important to ask this question early on as there is no point setting your heart on having ranunculus if you are getting married in December. The types of florals available may also change your colour scheme and how you chose to incorporate florals into your big day.

2. Do you have a portfolio of work you can show us?

3. Do you have a variety of vases / urns / voitives for us to choose from and would this be at an additional charge?

Insider Knowledge

A lot of florist will have a wide variety of vases / urns / votives for your to choose from, however some of these may come with additional charges attached. It is important to incorporate these in your initial quotation so you know exactly what is included.

4. Have you worked at our chosen venue before?

5. Are you able to help advise on what florals will work with our chosen colour scheme and style we are hoping to achieve?

6. Where do you source your flowers from?

7. Do you have a minimum spend?

Things To Consider

A lot of florists require a minimum spend. Ask this question early so you can consider if your budget allows for this.

8. When will you arrive at the venue to set up?

9. What is included in your quotation?

10. Can we change our design / colour scheme once we have signed a contract?

Images by Wynn Davies Photography / Florals by Leafy Couture