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Planning Advice

5 Wedding Planning Tips

There really is so much to think about when it comes to planning your wedding and sometimes it can almost feel quite overwhelming too. That’s why I wanted to share 5 wedding planning tips to help keep you on track.

Tip One

Use Hashtags # to search for your wedding suppliers on Instagram.

Try typing into the search bar your wedding location and the type of supplier your looking for e.g. #yorkshireweddingphotographer #yorkshireweddingflorist. This is a really great way to find suppliers in your area.

Tip Two

Keep your wedding priorities at the heart of every decision you make.

Remember, these are the must have elements you can’t see your wedding without and will form the focus for your planning and supplier sourcing going forward. 

Tip Three

Creating a cohesive design for your wedding is a progression of ideas.

It will take take time, a lot of consideration, evaluation and tweaking, but don’t worry that’s only natural! When you start to feel overwhelmed with ideas take a break from scrolling on Pinterest. The rest will help clear your head.

Tip Four

Create a spreadsheet & get everything in one place.

Have your budget breakdown, suppliers details, payments and details of key dates listed in one place. Having everything on one spreadsheet makes it easier to stay up to date and on track with your next steps.

Tip Five

Take time to think about the little details.

This can be anything from the way you want to feel on your wedding day, the wine you serve with your wedding breakfast or the colour of your taper candles. All these little details make your day personal to you, the experience you have and atmosphere you create, so don’t underestimate them.

Are you struggling with elements of your wedding planning or just don’t know which bit to tackle next? Why not book a wedding planning hour with me! You can use this hour to ask me any questions you like. I’ll then go away and type everything up including suggestions, wedding planning tips and recommendations for you to refer back to.

To find out more click the link below.

Image Credits: Hannah Brooke Photography / Thicket Priory / I Do Hire / Dotty Bridal / Rebecca Anne Designs / Chrys Chapman MUA / Hannah Rachael Weddings

On My Instagram

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, Wedding Planning Guides

What To Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Caterer

So here it is! The next in the series of my mini Wedding Planning Guides and this has to be one of my favourites! Why? Because it’s all about the tastiest part of your wedding, your wedding catering!

You might not know but before I created Hannah Rachael Weddings I was a Senior Event Manager for a Yorkshire based wedding caterer. So, this is definitely a topic which is very close to my heart and one I know a great deal about.

And believe me this really is something you want to get right!

The food served at your wedding is likely to be one of the biggest investments after your venue, so why take any risks?! I’m here to give you my 3 top tips on what to consider when choosing your wedding caterer. As well as my 5 MUST ASK questions.

Top Tip 1

Taste the food before you commit to your caterer. This is so important! Just because everything looks amazing on Instagram unfortunately doesn’t mean it is in real life. Make sure you arrange an initial consultation and where possible a tasting before putting down your deposit. Your wedding catering is likely to be the biggest investment after your venue, so make sure it compliments you and your day.

Top Tip 2

Be true to yourselves. Food is such a big part of your day and you cannot please everyone so honestly don’t try to. It’s your day. Use it as the best excuse to have what you want, whether that be a five-course tasting menu or a dirty burger and fries. Eat the food you truly love.

Top Tip 3

Canapés are so important! They bridge the gap between your ceremony and wedding breakfast stopping guests getting hangry (which you definitely don’t want). Guests get peckish, especially if your wedding ceremony falls over lunchtime & they’ve had a few champagnes. Believe me, your guests will remember feeling hungry, so do not let that be the lasting impression of your day.

Now on to my 5 MUST ASK questions. My new Wedding Catering Guide is full of them, but these are my top 5. The 5 you need to ask in your initial consultation in order to get to know the caterer and to understand if they are the right fit for you!

Must Ask Questions

  1. How would you describe your catering style?
  2. What menus do you offer? (plated, BBQ, sharing, buffet etc.)
  3. Can you create a bespoke menu for our wedding?*
  4. Have you worked at our venue before and what do you require from our venue?
  5. Do you offer a menu tasting before we book and is there a charge for this?

*Not everyone will require a bespoke menu for their wedding, however if you are looking for a specific dish or themed menu, you must ask this at your initial consultation. Some caterers do not specialise or offer certain cuisines or variations from their set menus.

I could honestly talk about this ALL DAY LONG. Not just because I love food, but because it is such a pivotal part of your day. There is just so much to talk about from menu styles, service and presentation to how to use your food to tell a story.

But what I really want you to take away from this is; the food served at your wedding is what brings your guests together. It’s what gets everyone talking and will be what everyone talks about, good or bad, long after your wedding. As well as showcasing who you are as a couple.

You spend so much of your wedding day eating, so make sure it truly represents you and is something that you’re excited about. You only get one shot at this, so make sure your caterers are the best fit for you and your unique day.

Now this really is just a quick sneak peek into the world of wedding catering. Everything you need to know, including all my must ask questions can be found in my free Wedding Catering Guide. To get hold of your copy all you need to do is click the button below!

Use my Wedding Catering Guide as a tool to help you hunt out the most delicious menus you can possibly find.

My Wedding Planning Guides are designed for couples looking to create a day which is unique, exquisitely planned and full of detail. Why risk missing any detail when you can have your own mini wedding planner with you every step of the way? Keeping you on track and up to date with everything you need to know.

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

Planning Advice, Wedding Planning Guides

Why To Go Bespoke – Your Guide To Bespoke Bridalwear

I am delighted to of collaborated with the wonderful Felicity from Felisiti Greis to bring you my next blog – bespoke bridalwear. We cover so much in this blog including why it is crucial to find the right bridalwear designer for you. How the design process works. As well as the benefits of going bespoke and what you really need to consider when doing so.

I honestly can’t wait for you to venture into the world of bespoke bridalwear with us!

Thoughts from Felicity

Your wedding outfit is without doubt one of the most important outfits you will ever get to wear. You have probably been dreaming about every single detail that pertains to your wedding day and you probably have a clear vision of your dream wedding attire by now. There are so many different options available to you in terms of which journey you want to embark on, in your quest to find your dream wedding outfit. The different options available to you are; bespoke, made-to-measure, made-to-order, off-the-rack/ready-made.

Here are some top tips on how to choose the right bespoke bridalwear designer. As well as how to get the most out of your bespoke experience.

What makes a bespoke wedding garment so special & how can you make the most out of the experience?

Just For You

A bespoke wedding outfit is made with you in mind and is your dream and vision. The final design should be the embodiment of who you truly are. This is why it is so important that you choose a bespoke designer who has the ability to design an outfit that speaks to your individuality. Make sure to express all of your ideas to your designer in order for them to bring your vision to life.

Visualisation & Experience

The bespoke process offers a beautiful experience. One that builds an anticipation towards the completion or final fitting of your wedding gown. Most bespoke bridalwear designers will create a sketch of the final design for you to see and approve before construction of your outfit begins. Since a sketch is all you will have to go by, it is very important to choose a designer who listens. One who has the ability to beautifully translate your ideas into a sketch. This will help you visualise your wedding outfit before it is brought to life.

Trust & Expertise

The bridalwear designer you choose, like any other wedding supplier, should be one that you have total trust in. You should trust them as a person and also their expertise. This is the person/company that you will be working very closely with to bring your dream to life.

To do away with any doubts, it is best that you ask your designer as many questions as you possibly can. Make sure you are happy with all the answers you are given. I also advise to carefully look at the designer’s portfolio and past work to see if they are an expert in their field. Look out for clues like their attention to detail, finesse and the overall fit of their pieces.

Fit

Bespoke has a reputation for a great fit. The process a bespoke wedding attire goes through, requires on average anywhere between 3 to 5 fittings. The first fitting is usually what is called a toile (a toile is an early version of a finished garment made up in cheap material so that the design can be tested and perfected). Once the design is perfected, the designer will then usually start the process of creating the actual wedding outfit. The aim of the toile fitting is to perfect the final design of the garment. Therefore, you should take full advantage of this part of the process and all subsequent fittings.

Voice out any concerns, changes or alterations that you may want made to the design. This part; like any part of the process, requires complete trust in your designer as you see your beautiful dream take shape and come to life right before your very eyes. A great designer offers an impeccable fit and a flattering silhouette that compliments your beautiful body shape.

This is a topic I could talk about all day! With a background in fashion and bridalwear myself, this is something which is very close to my heart. It’s also an area I feel most couples aren’t aware of when looking for the perfect outfit(s) for their wedding.

Going bespoke means you are able to create something which is personal to you. To your style and your vision. Another way to make your wedding truly unique to you.

This is exactly why Felicity and I cover so much more about bespoke bridalwear in my new Wedding Planning Guide! Click the download button below to get hold of your free copy now.

This guide is full of questions to ask your designer, things to think about and how to navigate the bespoke process. You really don’t want to miss out on all this wonderful information.

On My Instagram

Image Credits – Emma Ryan Photography / Felisiti Greis / Hannah Rachael Weddings / Ponden Mill / The Petal Studio / Amore Headwear / Unity Rhodes Bridal / Aminaa Beauty

Planning Advice, Styling & Décor

My 5 Wedding Breakfast Styling Tips

So not to disappoint here is my latest blog post (as voted by you) – My 5 wedding breakfast styling tips to help you to narrow down all your styling ideas. This blog will walk you through the 5 details I consider when designing a wedding breakfast.

1. Colour Palette

I always start with my colour palette. Your colour palette sets the tone for the whole aesthetic and decorative details. I use my venue to draw inspiration for this.

I consider the style of room where the wedding breakfast will take place, how the room is decorated and any prominent features it may have. I also like to think about what season the wedding will be taking place in.

Then I go on to create a colour palette consisting of 5 key colours which I will draw from for my florals, linen, table settings and décor details throughout. Adding more colours than this can overwhelm and almost over power the overall aesthetic you are hoping to achieve.

Remember less is more when it comes to your colour palette. Keep it refined, considered and cohesive for optimum impact.

2. The Venue

The overall aesthetic of your tablescape should align with the style of your venue. You want to chose decorative details to compliment your venue not contrast it!

Start by considering which 3 words you would use to describe your venue? Now think about your wedding vision and the way you want your wedding to be described.

Once you have these words consider the different ways in which you could compliment and encapsulate this vision.

This is something I go into much more detail with my couples during their wedding consultations and venue site visits. Do remember, styling your wedding day is a progression of ideas and does takes time and a lot of consideration. Don’t worry if this is something you feel you keep coming back to and evaluating.

3. Table Style

What style of table will you be having? This is such a crucial factor to consider and one which plays a big part in the whole design of your tablescape.

I consider different layouts and details depending on whether I am styling a long trestle or a round table.

With long trestles you tend to have less ‘spare space’ you mainly have the space which runs down the centre of the table. Whereas on a round table you tend to have a larger amount of central space to work with.

Next I consider what the tables look like and the setting of the wedding breakfast.

Traditionally most round tables will need clothing as they tend to be pretty ugly (in my experience). However a lot of long trestle tables are designed with beautiful wooden tops and work really well unclothed. These tend to work best in a more rustic or outdoors setting such as a barn or marquee. Therefore you may feel like adding a simple table runner down the centre of each trestle to add a hint of colour and texture.

If you have opted for a stately home or hotel, for your wedding breakfast then I would definitely recommend the addition of table linen. This adds a level of sophistication and crispness to the overall look and styling of your wedding breakfast. A beautiful base layer for you to style as you wish.

4. Menu Choices

This is a big one and one a lot of couples don’t consider! Your menu choices make a significant impact on your styling choices and the way your tables are laid out.

Think about the menu choices you have made; have you opted for sharing or plated?

If you have opted to include sharing elements then you need to consider, where these will be placed on your tables and how easy it will be for guests to reach and share these dishes amongst one another. I personally find sharing menus work best with long trestle tables. Most trestles divide between 6 guests (perfect sharing numbers) and have the ideal amount of space down the centre for sharing platters.

If opting for sharing you may find you have less space for decorative details. Therefore make your food the star of the show! Create varying heights using risers and trail soft foliage along the centre of the tables to add detail and colour. Why not consider dotting bud vases, taper candles and tealights along the table to add interest and detail.

If however you decide to opt for a plated menu then really the only thing you need to make space for is salt and pepper and accompaniments. Therefore you have more space to dress and style the space on your table as you like.

5. Height Variation

Considering height is crucial to a successful table design. If your guests can’t see one another it makes it really difficult for them to engage in conversation. Your wedding breakfast is a key element to your day and takes up a big proportion of time, therefore you want guests to enjoy themselves.

You can create height variation in so many different ways including;

  1. You could mix and match the centrepieces you have on each table (this works really well if you are having round tables). Opt for a hurricane vase with pillar candle on one and then a high floral vase arrangement on the next.
  2. You could opt for one tall floral arrangement as a main centrepiece then decorate the outside of this with small votives, tealights, bud vases etc.
  3. Or why not vary the heights of the floral/candle arrangements you have running down the centre of your table. You could achieve this by alternating between taper candles, tealights and varying floral arrangements.

I do hope you’ve found my 5 wedding breakfast styling tips a useful starting point.

This is definitely an area I spend a lot of time discussing and reviewing with my couples all to make sure the venue and vision for their day aligns. If you would like to find out more or want help with elements to consider when designing your wedding breakfast then do get in touch.

I’d love to hear from you!

Image Credits – Emma Ryan Photography / Anna Beth Photography / Freya Raby Photography

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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, Q&A's

Botanical Filled Q&A With The Wonderful Polkadot Stationery

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to share with you this amazing insight into the world of all things wedding stationery. In this Q&A I ask Polkadot Stationery everything you need to know about working with a wedding stationer.

This includes how to work with a stationer, how they can help to bring your wedding style to life and why it is so important to be picky!

The wonderful Beccy started Polkadot Stationery back in 2012 “as a way to explore her passion for all things paper”. Beccy loves everything botanical and finds inspiration for her hand-drawn collections from the great outdoors.

Can you tell us more about Polkadot Stationery & your design style?

Botanical and hand-drawn! I love the outdoors and there’s so much choice with which flowers and plants I could draw for the next range. I like to keep my designs quite relaxed and rough so you can see the pencil marks too. I think it adds a more human quality to the designs which I like. 

Where do you draw inspiration for your ranges?

There’s some woods near my house that are really lovely to go and have a walk in – if I see a flower or plant I like I’ll take a photograph of it on my phone so I can reference it later. I have an album on my phone called ‘Polkadot Inspiration’ so it gets popped in there until I need it. For colour palettes I find a lot of nice imagery on Instagram and Pinterest too. Sometimes the colour palette I use is based off what is trending too though, for example at the moment deep greens, ferns and eucalyptus are most definitely in as well as softer more neutral tones such as blush pinks, terracotta and burnt orange.

Which is your favourite range & why?

I’ve just released a range called Wildflowers which is probably my  favourite so far. It’s just really simple and elegant. I also love Hand-painted Dahlias – I used gouache paints for this one for the first time and I’m really pleased with how it turned out – it’s still got that rustic, imperfect loose style that’s important to me.

I love that a lot of your designs are hand drawn, do you use any other processes when designing?

It’s a bit of a mixture really. I’ll use my iPad sometimes as I have some software on it called Procreate that effectively turns it into a drawing tablet. I use an iPencil with that and I absolutely love it because you forget you’re not using a real pencil. I also sometimes just use pen and create a really simple 1-colour design – Hydrangea Garland was created just using a really fine nib pen and then the drawing scanned into my iMac. I’ve also recently started experimenting with gouache paints as I love the texture of them.

What types of paper do you use when creating your collections?

The print of all of the wedding stationery orders is outsourced to a professionals printers. They use really nice thick, textured papers as well as more unusual stocks such as recycled kraft and vellum. I think paper choice can really make or break a collection so I always take the time to really think about which paper best suits the design.

What would you say is the benefit of working with a wedding stationer?

I think knowing that you’re working directly with a graphic designer on the design of your wedding stationery means you know you’re going to get exactly what you want. If you can imagine it, we can most likely create it! Even though I offer ‘off-the-shelf’ designs, there’s the flexibility for couples to change parts of one of my ranges if they want to, so go for a semi-bespoke design. I also do totally bespoke designs for those  wanting something that’s 100% unique to them.

Have you got any top tips for couples looking to work with a wedding stationer?

For bespoke designs a Pinterest board is always really useful for me – it gives me a good idea into the style of the wedding they want to create and gives me a better understanding for the vibe they’re wanting. 

What should couples bare in mind when working with a stationer?

I think just not to worry too much about being picky and saying what you want. Tell me as much as you can about what your day will be like, what colour scheme you’re going for, the venue, the flowers…even what you’ll be eating! It all helps me build up a picture of how your wedding is going to look, so helps me create the perfect stationery for the day.

When would you advise couples start to discuss their wedding stationery?

Some couples send their save the dates out as early as a year and a half in advance and others a few months, so it varies massively. If you’re not sure which supplier to go with it’s a good idea to get some samples sent out to you to see the quality before you make a decision – we offer free samples direct from our website. If it’s a totally bespoke design that’s going to be created I would say get in touch 2/3 months before you’re wanting to send them out as this will leave enough time to make amends and finalise any artwork.

Do you offer a consultation where couples can discuss their ideas?

Yes couples are free to contact me as much or as little as they like. This can be over email, the phone or even via Zoom! To help them visualise my designs even further I also offer free samples direct from my website – couples can choose up to 3 of their favourite designs to see physical samples of. If it’s not possible to meet up in person to discuss bespoke designs, in the past couples have sent me swatches in the post of their bridesmaid dresses so I can match the colour. However they wish to work with me is fine by me, I’m very flexible in that regard.

What processes are involved in creating a bespoke stationery suite and how long does this typically take? 

Generally, if you went for a bespoke range I’d say get in touch  approximately 2/3 months before you’re wanting to send your save the dates out. Creating designs from scratch that are hand-drawn can take a lot of time, so I like to make sure that nothing is left to chance. If it’s one of my off-the-shelf designs then I would say the lead time would be anywhere between 2-3 weeks, it’s much quicker. Couples are sent PDF proofs of their designs until they are happy with them and they are then sent to a professional printers to be created. 

How long can a couple expect the print and assembly process to take? 

From placing the order with the printers, it usually takes between 4-6 days for the final items to arrive with them. This depends a lot on the size of the order though and some items can take a little longer e.g. die-cut, irregular-shaped items are more complicated so have a longer turnaround time.

How often do you release new ranges?

I’ll always try and get a new design up online as soon as I’ve created the invite design, even if the rest of the suite of matching items haven’t been developed yet, just so clients can see if it’s something they might like. Generally speaking, I would say every 3/4 months I’ll try and release something new.

What can we expect from Polkadot Stationery in 2020?

I think it’s going to be tricky this year because of the pandemic, but I would like to say more hand-painted ranges because I’ve really loved getting to experiment with the gouache paints. I’m also planning on offering a new product for summer wedding but I can’t say too much about that yet, it’s a secret! But they’re going to be beautiful!

I hope this has inspired you to start thinking about your own wedding stationery and just how beneficial it can be working with a designer. Especially if you want to ensure that level of quality and attention to detail is carried throughout your wedding.

It really is important to not underestimate how much of an impact stationery has when conveying your wedding aesthetic. It is the first glimpse your guests will be given of your wedding day and helps set the tone for what’s to come. ⁣⁣

With this in mind, I always recommend working with the same stationer to create your full stationery suite where possible. From your save the dates and invitations, right through to your place cards and menus. ⁣⁣Keeping your stationery cohesive will make sure to add the perfect finishing touch to your big day.⁣⁣

You will find out more about Polkadot Stationery and the beautiful ranges Beccy has to offer by clicking the links below.

https://www.polkadotstationery.co.uk/

http://instagram.com/polkadotstationery

Let’s bring your dream day to life!

Contact me for help and advice on how to successfully select the perfect team of suppliers for your big day.

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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