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Planning Advice

How To Enjoy Planning Your Wedding & Avoid Overwhelm

Happy New Year!

I hope you had an amazing festive break and are looking forward to getting started with your lovely wedding planning even after the latest lockdown announcement.

I want to say a massive welcome if you are new to my blog. This is definitely one of my little happy places. It’s where I come to discuss all things weddings, share my top tips and help you to navigate the wonderful, but sometimes overwhelming world of wedding planning!

And what better way to kick start 2021 than with a new blog post – how to enjoy wedding planning and avoid overwhelm! I don’t know about you, but I find a new year tends to be filled with anticipation and a lot of excitement for what’s to come. It’s a great time to start or re-start your wedding planning and to put some wonderful ideas into motion. While that may all feel exceedingly exciting I also understand just how quickly this can turn into feelings of stress and overwhelm. Which is something I want to help you avoid at all costs!

This is why I want to dive straight in with a few vital top tips to stop this from happening. All to help avoid the unnecessary pitfalls of wedding planning.

Let’s get started

I can’t promise that you won’t find certain elements of your wedding planning slightly stressful or without overwhelm. However, what I do hope is that my top tips help to limit the amount you feel this!

So, where to start?

1. Start by sharing your amazing news

I know everyone says it, but it really is important to enjoy being engaged. It’s such an exciting time and an amazing next step in your life. One which deserves to be celebrated.

I know that might be tricky at the minute (due to Covid) but don’t let it stop you telling all your friends and family. Take some time out to enjoy being engaged before throwing yourselves deep into wedding planning. Have fun collecting wedding magazines and losing yourself in different blogs. Fill your heads with excitement and the newness of being engaged.

2. Identify your priorities

I always advise my couples to start by identifying their priorities (in other words their ‘must haves’). These are the things you just can’t imagine your wedding without. These ‘must haves’ are your ticket to creating a day which is truly unique to you.

Here are my favourite questions to get you thinking about your wedding ‘must haves’

What words would you use to describe your personalities?

What do you enjoy doing to relax, what hobbies & interests do you have?

How would you describe your dream wedding? (e.g. fun, informal, relaxed, elegant etc.)

When would you like to get married? (think about the season, day of the week, year)

What types of food & drink do you love & why?

Where in the world do you see yourselves getting married & why? (abroad/close to home/where you grew up?)

These questions should help you to identify what makes you stand out as a couple. They should get you thinking about what you love doing, eating and drinking. What you enjoy doing in your spare time and where you like to go on holiday. And most importantly why you love these things so much! By asking yourself why you will start to focus on your ‘must haves’, the elements you just can’t see your wedding without.

Remember

Your wedding is a representation of you as a couple, your loves and most importantly your personalities. Identifying your must haves, the elements you can’t see your wedding without, will help you to prioritise these the further you get into your planning.

3. Create a budget

Next up is budget, the one thing every couple hates talking about.

Believe me, if you don’t take the time to establish your wedding budget early on you run the risk of overspending very early on. This in itself can be stressful.

By prioritising your budget from the beginning you therefore have a clearer understanding of what you can achieve and what you have to spend on each element.

Questions to ask yourselves when identifying your budget

Roughly how many months are there until you get married?

Will anyone else be contributing financially to your wedding?  If so, how much?

Total amount you have to spend?

Because establishing your budget and wedding priorities is such a big topic, I have decided to release a wedding planning guide all about it. To get a hold of your copy when it launches (and the rest of my free planning guides) just click the button below.

4. Give yourself plenty of time

Now you’ve identified your wedding priorities and budget, give yourself plenty of time to explore your options. You don’t have to, or need to, do everything right this minute, all in one go. Yes, some suppliers do get booked up 12 to 18 months in advance, but rushing this part of your planning won’t secure your dream team.

Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are some of my favourite places to start researching venues and suppliers. Think of these as the perfect way to get to know suppliers, their style and what they can bring to your wedding. Treat their profiles as their portfolio.

When looking for your suppliers ask yourself, does their work, imagery and personality align with your wedding vision? Do you like what they stand for? And can you see them being a part of your day?

Top Tip

Don’t be afraid to reach out to suppliers. Feel free to ask them questions about their work, their services and their processes.

Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are also a brilliant source of inspiration. Use these as a way to gain a better understanding of what you like and dislike. Save images which catch your eye and inspire you.

Remember

The further you get into your wedding planning, the more you get to know your style and the overall aesthetic you’ll want to create for your day. So don’t worry if you feel as though you don’t have a clear idea of what you want just yet.

5. Book your venue & your ‘must have’ suppliers 1st

I know this may sound a bit contradictive, as I told you to not rush earlier, but it is never too early (once you have found your favourite suppliers) to secure your wedding date in their diary.

The first supplier I advise you to secure is your venue. Your venue really does set the tone for your whole wedding and should align with your ‘must haves’.

For instance,

If catering is important to you make sure to ask each venue about the different options available, menu choices and if this is something you can outsource.

If you want an outdoor ceremony, check the venue can accommodate and make sure this complements your vision.

Once you have your venue and your date secured, the next step is to book your ‘must have’ suppliers. As I mentioned earlier, it’s never too early to start discussing your wedding and choosing the right team for your day. By securing your ‘must have’ suppliers first, you then have an idea of your remaining budget and where you want to allocate this.

6. Don’t leave things to the last minute

The final key to avoiding wedding planning overwhelm is to not leave everything to the last possible minute. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to tick off your to-do list, sign your contracts and pay your deposits and to do your research. Because if you don’t you will end up rushing and forgetting to do those small but very important tasks.

Top Tip

Create a spreadsheet or checklist of everything you need to do and when you need to do it by.

This way you have a clear direction to your planning and avoid missing any important details.

Make sure your to-do list/spreadsheet is accessible at all times. Print it off and put it in your wedding file, have it saved on your phone or stick it to your fridge. Having this written down and easy to access will help to keep you on track and motivated.

So, there we have it, my top tips for how to avoid overwhelm and to enjoy your wedding planning. There really is no denying that wedding planning, at times, can feel like an extra job on top of everything else you have going on in life. However, with a little bit of pre-planning and some helpful tips along the way, it really doesn’t have to feel overwhelming and stressful too.

Want more tips and wonderful tricks to help you through the many stages of your planning? Then sign up to my mailing list to receive my free wedding planning guides.

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Image Credits – Freya Raby Photography / Ponden Mill / Kelly Hanks Hair Design / Natasha Jane Makeup / Jessica Steele Jewellery / Haworth Menswear / The Aisle Ilkley / Emma Cox Floristry / Where The Ribbon Ends / Hannah Rachael Weddings

Planning Advice

3 Reasons to Hire A Wedding Planner

As you lovelies voted for my next blog to be all about wedding timelines, it really got me thinking. Thinking about how important it is to have a plan for your wedding day.

By now you’ve probably spent numerous hours planning your wedding, choosing your suppliers and the wonderful elements which will make your day special. But have you thought about how all these details will come together on the day itself? The running order, the timings and the set up? Probably not so much and why should you of? You’ve most likely never done this before. So, I wouldn’t expect you to know all the in’s, out’s and tiny details which make up your wedding day.

So, this is exactly why I wanted to put together this bonus blog. Your wedding timeline only works if you have all these other details accounted for. This is why I discuss why a wedding planner may just be the best decision you make for your wedding day. They make sure every logistic and every timing has been accounted for and that no detail has been missed. All to make sure you don’t have to worry about a single thing!

1. Knowledge

Hopefully, if you choose your wedding planner wisely, they will have worked in the industry for several years before setting up their own business. They will be able to provide you with a wealth of knowledge gained from their experience working in a variety of sectors within the wedding industry.

They should bring a wide skill set, professionalism and guidance to your planning. All to save you an abundance of time searching for answers, looking for suppliers and working out the logistics involved in your day.

2. Experience

Your wedding planner should be able to provide you with knowledge of the industry and how suppliers operate. As well as why certain elements of your day will need to be conducted or laid out in a specific way and how to get the most out of your budget.

Working with an experienced wedding planner can be the difference between you feeling stress and overwhelm instead of fun and excitement when planning your wedding.

3. Support

Unwavering, real and honest support. To guide and advise you when you’re just not sure which direction to take. Someone who knows your wedding inside and out, just like you do. Who is just as excited about your day and who wants to help you create a day like no other.

Someone on your team who can think ahead of time and make sure everything is on track, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

I want you to have an amazing experience while planning your wedding. I want it to be fun, exciting and personal to you, without causing any overwhelm, stress or confusion. That’s exactly why I work with my couples in an extremely bespoke and detailed way in order to bring to life their wonderful day.

I appreciate that you are unique and therefore, so is your wedding and your planning. That’s why I’m with you every step of the way. Making sure you are on track, happy and supported throughout the whole process, right up to the day itself.

Checking nothing has been missed or overlooked. All so you can relax and enjoy one of the most exciting times of your life!

This is a topic I discuss and delve into in much more detail in my mini Wedding Planning Guides. Make sure you don’t miss a thing by signing up to get your guides as soon as they launch!

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Image Credits – Hannah Brooke Photography / Freya Raby Photography

Planning Advice

What Is A Micro Wedding & Why Might You Have One?

So what is a micro wedding I hear you ask!

A micro wedding is typically a wedding which contains 50 guests or less and is not to be confused with a small wedding or elopement.

Well, what’s the difference between a micro wedding, a small wedding and an elopement then?

A very good question!

Now the difference between a small wedding and a micro wedding does seem to vary depending on who you talk to! Not at all helpful, I know.

A micro wedding traditionally involves no more than 50 guests, where as a small or intimate wedding is based around an even smaller guest count (20 or less). A small wedding might also follow less traditions or formalities (however this is not always the case). For instance, couples may veto a cake cut and first dance. Or opt for a less formal sit down wedding breakfast and instead have a family style bbq. Some would suggest a small wedding is all about the ceremony and marriage commitment rather than the ‘extra’ details.

Whereas the definition of an elopement wedding is “to run away secretly in order to get married”. A marriage which consists of the two of you, plus a select few witnesses, these may be people very close to you or people you’ve never even met before. Most couples who elope tend to pick a location away from their family home, somewhere meaningful to them as a couple. An elopement can be seen as a ‘hassle free’ way to tie the knot, without the pressures and expectations from family and friends.

5 Reasons You Might Consider Having A Micro Wedding

Micro weddings are definitely not to be seen as micro in any way other than the guest count. They often contain the same fundamentals and traditions as a larger wedding. With some arguing that micro weddings allow you to tailor and personalise your wedding to your guests, providing a more bespoke day. This is mostly due to couples allocating a similar budget for a wedding of 100 to their wedding of 50. This results in a larger budget to spend on elements such as personalised decor, fine dining and luxury drink offerings. 

1. Share your special day with your nearest & dearest only!

As you have decided to focus on a smaller guest list it’s important that the people you do invite are your most nearest & dearest only.

Don’t get sucked into the whirlpool of plus ones, work colleagues and family friends. Having a micro wedding is all about spending the most personal and special day of your lives with your favourite people.

Make it clear from the outset that you intend on having a micro wedding so hopefully no one will be left confused as to why they haven’t been invited.

2. Get creative

A whole host of different venues will become available due to your reduced guest list.

This may even include places which feel more personal to you as a couple, such as your favourite restaurant, art gallery or museum or even your own back garden!

See this as the perfect opportunity to go off piste. Select a venue which may not traditionally be seen as a wedding venue or one others may have to rule out due to guest numbers. It’s another way to create a day truly unique to you, your partner and your lovely guests.

3. Lets talk food & drink

A lot of couples who decide to opt for a micro wedding do so, so they can spoil their guests (and themselves). Think about it, it is the perfect opportunity to go all out and select the finest quality food and drink possible.

With more money to spend per head, as well as more time to spend with your guests, what better way to do so than sipping your favourite cocktails or tucking into a delicious 5 course taster menu?

Why not look to allocate a greater proportion of time to your drinks reception and wedding breakfast. This will create a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing you and your guests to enjoy the day rather than feeling as though you are rushing from one thing straight to the next.

You could opt for a specialist bar offering a bespoke cocktail and champagne menu. You could look into creating a tasting menu with wine pairing, prepared by your own Michelin starred chef. Whatever it might be, make sure it adds a ‘wow’ and excitement to your day. Make it a talking point for all of your guests. It’s the perfect opportunity to create something you might not find at a larger scale wedding.

Top Tip

Whatever you do though, don’t forget about the importance of ambience!

Your luxury dining experience won’t feel so luxury when there’s no background music. Music helps to set the tone, so think about what you’re trying to achieve and make sure your choice in musician or band reflects this.

Do also make sure to think about how your entertainment will transition from day to evening. Do you want something more lively in the evening to get guests up partying? Or are your guests the type to sit and chat all evening long? As you’ve only invited your very nearest and dearest you know them well, so pitch your entertainment at what you know they’ll enjoy.

4. It’s all about the details

Go all out with the finer details and personal touches. Source suppliers who focus on creating bespoke and personalised items, rather than mass produced ones.

Do something different with your favours. Instead of offering guests a foil wrapped chocolate, why not have a local chocolatier make each guest a box of beautiful hand painted chocolates.

Alternatively, why not look to have each of your guest’s names hand embroidered on each napkin. Not only will this add a beautiful finish to your place settings, but it will be a lovely keepsake for each of your guest.

Don’t underestimate the importance of these little touches, your guests will really appreciate the extra effort and time you have gone to.

Things To Consider

Why not go one step further and hire items such as charger plates, coloured glassware and luxe table linens. Decorative details when combined make one hell of a statement.

5. Quality time

For some, larger scales weddings can almost feel overwhelming. Some couples see it as a way to celebrate in the company of everyone they know and love, whereas others find the concept completely stressful.

For couples worrying about how much quality time they will be able to spend with their guests and each other, a micro wedding might just be the answer.

A micro wedding means fewer guests, so in theory more time to spend with each one. Time to chat, grab a drink and to take a moment out just the two of you. As a result, you could argue that you spend less time entertaining and more time celebrating. Sounds like the perfect solution to me.

Top Tip

Whatever you do, don’t forget to hire a photographer to capture your day.

You’ve gone to every effort to create a highly personalised and meaningful wedding, filled to the brim with love, happiness and your favourite people.

So make sure you have these special moments documented for you and your guests to look back on for many years to come.

Hopefully, that helps to eliminate the confusion around what a micro wedding is and provides some interesting pointers on why it may just be the best idea for you and your unique day.

However, as you can see, reducing your guest count doesn’t necessarily reduce the amount of thought, effort or planning that goes into organising a micro wedding.

For more tips and advice on how to create your perfect day then do get in touch.

Image Credits – Phoebe Jane Photography / Wynn Davies Photography / Ivy Alice Stationery / Charlotte’s Floral Design / The Whimsical Cake Company / Denton Hall / The Beverley Barn / Hannah Rachael Weddings

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Planning Advice

Help! Where Do I Find Inspiration For My Wedding?

Now lets just be honest, lockdown is not easy and is definitely not what you needed to contend with when planning one of the happiest days of your life. It probably feels like this pandemic has sucked all of the fun and enjoyment out of your wedding planning and any plans you had to look forward to. So that’s why it’s crucial we put a stop to this now and help you get back to your love of all things weddings! I hope that my list of all things wedding planning gets you back on track to planning a day like no other.

Now where to start?

It can seem like you’ve lost your train of thought, or can’t remember where you got up to on your list of plans and that’s absolutely normal, especially after you’ve taken a break from planning. So I’ve broken down a guide of easy and quick ways in which you can start to gather a wide range of imagery/inspiration/supplier information/top tips & more to help you through the next steps in your planning.

Instagram

Instagram is a great place to get to know different suppliers from all over the world. So, no matter where you are planning your big day from, it is the perfect tool for getting to know an array of venues, photographers, make-up artists and more!

Instagram is one of the best platforms for industry professionals to showcase not only their work, but personality and experience too. Making it an ideal place for getting to know your suppliers before you go ahead and hire them.

Start by taking some time to look over their profile, stories and any past work or styled shoots they’ve been a part of. Make sure to look over their captions and comments too. It’s also a good idea to click the link to their website. This will give you more information on the company, their services and pricing.

Also don’t be shy! Make sure to follow them, like and comment on their posts and join in their lives. The more you interact with them, the quicker you will get to know if you like their style and the work they produce. Have a look at who they follow and the people they work with. There may be an opportunity for them to recommend other suppliers too. Helping you to build on the style and feel of your wedding by having suppliers with a similar aesthetic.

Use Instagram as a resource for building a picture of who they are. Don’t forget, you spend a lot of time with each of your suppliers, so it’s important you like them just as much as you like their work.

Facebook

Facebook is a great tool when planning your big day. It’s an easy way to interact with suppliers, speak to other couples and to ask for recommendations.

One of the greatest advantages Facebook has over Instagram, is that it allows groups and forums. The perfect place for you to liaise with industry professionals and ask all of your burning questions from the comfort of your sofa. There are loads of these groups and forums on Facebook created by suppliers, bloggers and industry professionals, purely to help you when planning your big day. You want to find groups which aren’t just full of suppliers looking to sell to you.

So here’s the list of my favorite groups, forums and pages. Think of these as an unlimited amount of advice all in one place. A little gem of a resource if you ask me.

Brides Up North

Weddings and Brides 2020, 2021 & 2022

You & Your Wedding

Brides

Unveiled Magazine

Hannah Rachael Weddings

Pinterest

Now where to start with Pinterest, this is one of the quickest sources of visual inspiration out there. Providing you with a wealth of imagery. Covering all aspects of weddings from table settings, colour palettes, wedding dress inspiration, lawn games and so much more. If you can think it, believe me it will have a whole host examples to show you.

You can create an infinite amount of boards where you can store all of the images you find. Another great way to start to narrow down your likes and dislikes early in your wedding planning. This is definitely an app I recommend you installing as soon as you get engaged.

Top Tip

Share your boards with suppliers. This helps them to visualise and translate the ideas in your head.

Create a board containing your favourite 10 images. This way it makes it easier for them to picture the aesthetic you want to achieve for your day.

Magazines

Now I love having a magazine to flick through. For me there really is nothing better than having a glossy magazine or file packed with cutouts sitting on your coffee table full of inspiration. However, if you collect loads (like I do) then be mindful that not everything will relate to you and your day. Instead why not look for local wedding magazines which feature topics and suppliers closer to your chosen wedding location.

There is no denying, magazines are a great way to start your planning process and provide a great source of initial research.

Blog Posts

You will find an abundance of blog posts online and one of my favorite topics has to be styled shoots. They are a brilliant way to draw inspiration for your big day. Providing an insight into different types of venues, how they can be styled, as well as tips on how to translate the latest wedding trends.

You will find an array of styled shoots on websites such as Brides Up North, Unveiled Magazine, Love My Dress and Rock My Wedding. Make sure to look out for the details of who created them. You can then go on to research these suppliers, finding out more about how they could help bring your day to life.

You can then even go back onto Pinterest and start creating boards based on the styled shoots you loved.

Podcasts

This has to be one of the easiest ways to gain invaluable tips and tricks for planning your day. Topics might be chosen by couples, be focused around a popular question or based on a new trend. The beauty is, you don’t have to listen to each podcast in order. You can pick and choose which topics or discussions relate most to you. With a typical podcast being 30 minutes – 1 hour & 30 minutes long, they are the perfect way to get some wedding planning in during your commute to work or lunch break.

Shedding light on topics you probably don’t want to, or don’t know how to, discuss with your family and friends. Providing real life examples, tips and tricks to help you tackle some of the most stressful planning decisions.

If you’re keen to get listening then here are my all time favorite planning podcasts. Once you’ve listed to one you won’t be able to stop.

Rock My Wedding

One Fab Day

Put A Ring On It

Top Tip

Find one you can relate to. There is no point listening to someone advising how to plan a destination wedding when you are getting married in your back garden in Yorkshire.

Also, If you can’t stand the speaker’s voice then you are hardly going to want to listen to them for an hour, just something to bare in mind.

Happy Planning

I really do hope my little guide to wedding planning has given you the nudge needed to get back into your excited planning place. Unfortunately, I can’t answer the most pressing question and explain exactly when we will be back to throwing amazing weddings. However, I can promise it will happen and it will be worth the wait.

Useful Links

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

Brides Up North

Unveiled Magazine

Don’t forget if you’re ever struggling with the next steps in your planning or just want someone to talk through your ideas with, I’m always happy to help.

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