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Planning Advice

Use Your Time Wisely

Use your time wisely! There’s no doubt that wedding planning can feel like a full-time job. That’s why it’s important to use your time as efficiently as possible. By using your time efficiently not only do you get lots done, but you also enjoy the time you spend planning your wedding. Which is what you want! Planning your wedding goes so quickly in the grand scheme of things so you want to enjoy it, not dread it.

I know this is easier said than done when you’re faced with making what feels like a million decisions. So, here are a few tips to help your use your time wisely when planning your day.

No. 1 Create a dedicated email address for all your wedding correspondence

This allows you to keep track of all the emails you send and receive. It also means your wedding emails don’t get swallowed up or missed. If you’re anything like me you will receive way too many emails a day (most of these being random newsletters you signed up to 5 years ago to get a 10% discount code from) It also helps, get you into the wedding spirit, when else do you get to create a fun new email address?

No. 2 File your emails

If you don’t want the small inconvenience of setting up a wedding email, then create a folder in your personal or if you dare work email account dedicated to your wedding. That way any emails you receive can be stored in here until you’re ready to read or respond to them. This will save you so much time scrolling through your never-ending list of unopened emails to find the one you’re searing for.

No. 3 Create a wedding website

I can’t begin to tell you how much time this will save you. First off it stops you from relaying the same information to each of your guests. If you’ve got 100 guests, I’m sure you can imagine how long that is going to take. It also gives guest the opportunity to look at this whenever they have a question rather than contact you directly for an answer. You can include all the information they need to know e.g. venue location, parking details, accommodation etc and update this at the click of a button. It is also an effortless way to collect and chase RSVP’s and crucial information such as menu choices and dietary requirements.

My favourite websites are:

These 3 websites are easy to customise and add your information to. You’ll have everything up and running within an hour max.

No.4 Don’t get sucked into Pinterest and Instagram

It’s easy to fall down a Pinterest or Reel hole when you’re looking for inspiration or trying to find suppliers to work with. Where possible try to limit the time, you spend on here. The last thing you want is to waste precious hours of planning time looking at content which may well be hilarious but completely unnecessary.

No. 5 Set time aside for planning as a couple

Set time aside with your partner to tick off your wedding to do list. It’s unlikely you’re going to want to make any decisions without your partners involvement. This doesn’t have to be long, an hour each week with a brew or something stronger should do the trick. It helps you to edge closer towards making those key decisions and finalising your plans.

No. 6 There’s no time to be unorganised

Keep all your notes, ideas, contact details, contracts, and budget in one place. One folder or one notebook is more than enough! Do not note down information on random scraps of paper which you then leave dotted around the house. Not only does it make you feel unorganised it wastes time. In the time you spent looking for that suppliers number you jotted down last week you could have had a call with them and discussed your day, their pricing structure and what they offer.

I share more planning tips (to help keep you on track) once a week over on my LET’S TALK DETAIL mailing list. Hit the button below to sign up now. *I hate spam emails just as much as you do, so I promise these emails are jam packed full of planning goodness and nothing else.*

Image credits – Firewood Film / Hannah Rachael Weddings / Ceremonies with Rachael / Shades Canvas

Planning Advice

Choosing Your Team of Suppliers


Choosing your team of suppliers can feel overwhelming. With so many suppliers to choose from it can be hard to know where to start! You want a team you can trust! A team that “gets” your vision and what you’re hoping to achieve. One you won’t have to micromanage or worry about on the day. Suppliers you just bounce off, who you can be honest with and who you know will provide the best service possible.

So, where do you start?

Google – Is a super easy way to find suppliers. You can search via a location, company name or specialism. Most suppliers have a website containing details of their services, a blog and testimonials. It’s normally easy to request further information via their contact page too.

Instagram – Is a great way to connect with suppliers and get to know them on a more personal level. Their grid acts as a portfolio, while their stories provide the perfect platform for them to share snippets of their work and BTS. This is a great way to get an idea of the person behind the brand.

Wedding Fairs – Are a brilliant place to meet suppliers face-to-face, ask questions and get samples. There’s normally lots of delicious cake to try too! If you’re in the early stages of your planning this is an easy way to start your supplier search. Lots of suppliers all in one room immediately help you to narrow down what you like and really don’t like.

Venue Recommendations – Your venue will have a list of suppliers they can recommend. These are normally suppliers the venue knows well and they trust to provide a good service. This can be a helpful starting point and will give you something to compare other suppliers and quotations to.


Your team of suppliers have a significant impact on your wedding and the experience you and your guests have, so take the time to do your research before you sign those contracts!

So, what can you do to make sure your suppliers are the right fit for your day?

1. Check the images on their website and social media are their own work – You want to make sure the work you love is their own and has not been taken as “inspiration” from someone else’s portfolio. Check the image credits, have they contributed to that image in some way? If the images are just “inspiration” then you might end up disappointed with the service, they provide.

2. What experience and knowledge do they have? – Do they share snippets of their knowledge and expertise on their website, social media or blog? Do they have testimonials that back up their services and the quality of their work? You want to make sure your suppliers have the right knowledge and expertise for the role you are hiring them to do.

3. What does your gut say? Do you like them and their brand values? You work closely with your supplier in the run-up to your wedding and on the day itself, so it’s important you feel comfortable around them. You want to surround yourself with a team that takes the time to understand you and your wedding vision. A team you can trust.

There is a lot to consider when choosing your team of suppliers. I hope this has provided you with some helpful tips to get you started. This is a topic I spend a lot of time discussing with my couples and over on my LET’S TALK DETAILS mailing list. If you’d like some help with sourcing your team of suppliers or want more information on my services then get in touch! I’d love to hear all about your wedding.

Image Credits – Chris Spencer Photography / Charlottes Floral Design / Louise Fawcett MUA / Skipbridge Country Weddings / Hannah Rachael Weddings



Planning Advice

10 Things To Consider If You’re Having A Marquee Wedding

I love a marquee wedding! There are so many benefits to having one. They offer complete flexibility. You can tailor them to your specific requirements and numbers and they create the most beautiful setting for a summer garden wedding. However, there is a lot to consider if you’re thinking of opting for one for your wedding. So, that’s why I thought I’d share 10 things to consider if you’re having a marquee wedding.

1. Location

It’s important that you consider the land your marquee will be placed on. Your marquee company will want to conduct a site visit to make sure the ground is suitable and there is sufficient space for your numbers and requirements. The ground will need to be level and if possible, well-draining. The grass will need to be cut a couple of days prior to your marquee being erected to make sure the ground underneath isn’t spongy or uneven.

It is also important to consider how your suppliers will gain access to the site. Your marquee company, toilet provider, caterer and bar company will need to be able to drive onto the site to offload their equipment. If there is heavy rainfall on the run up to your wedding, then it will be key to discuss how this may affect set up and pack down.

2. Style

When it comes to choosing the right structure for your celebration it comes down to a few different elements – ground type (e.g. grass, gravel, tarmac), your guest numbers, aesthetics, and the season. It’s important you do your research, so you understand the practicalities of each one. The ones you may be most familiar with are – pole tents, frame tents and stretch tents. It’s important you choose the right structure for your day and requirements, so don’t be afraid to approach marquee companies to discuss this further before deciding.

3. Parking

Where will guests and suppliers park on the day and how may cars can you accommodate? Can they gain access 24/7 or is this limited to certain times? Your suppliers will also need to be able to drive up to your marquee to unload their equipment so it’s important you’re mindful of this too.

You will also need to make sure this is well lit!

4. Furniture & Styling

Now it’s important to consider what the inside of your marquee will look like and the functionality of the space available. I like to think of a marquee as one continuous space divided into 3 sections.

Section 1 – Your dining area, normally where your wedding breakfast will take place. This typically consists of long or round tables or a combination of the two.

Section 2 – Your bar area. The position and style of your bar will normally be dependent on the style and size of your structure and guest number. This acts as your reception area which will normally have enough space for guests to grab a drink at the bar and dependant on space you might also have some lounge seating or poser tables.

Section 3 – Then there’s your dancefloor and in some cases your stage. This is normally where you’ll spend the evening partying the night away.

Your marquee company and wedding planner can help you to establish what you can do to maximise the space available. Some couples even look to create multiple spaces or ‘rooms’ with additional or connecting marquees/structures, however this will all come down to your budget and what you are wanting to achieve with the space you have available.

*If you are having an outside ceremony, you will also need to consider what your plan B will be if it is wet weather. Some couples choose to have an additional structure erected just in case (which can then be turned around and re-used in the evening) with others deciding to use their main structure and set up in the reception/dancefloor area. Every wedding is different, so this is something best discussed directly with your marquee company and wedding planner.*

5. Toilets

Please don’t forget the toilets! This is something which slips couples minds. It may be that you already have toilets onsite, but if not, this is something you will need to hire. There are a few different options available including port-a-loos, urinal blocks and trailers. All offer different features at varying price points.

You will need to consider if they require electricity and water and where they are going to be positioned in relation to your marquee. My tip would be to make sure these are kept out of sight, round the back of your marquee would be ideal. It’s also worth noting that if they are positioned on grass you might want to run some matting to them in case of wet weather. You will also need to make sure these have adequate lighting too.

6. Power & Water Access

Make sure you are aware of your supplier’s power and water requirements. This can drastically affect the service they are able to provide. Make sure to liaise your supplier’s requirements with your marquee company and wedding planner. That way they can make sure this is distributed correctly during set up.

7. Catering

You will most likely need to provide a catering area which is attached to your marquee. This is normally done in the form of a catering tent (your caterer will be able to advise how big this will need to be). You will also be required to provide trestle tables and lighting for in here too.

This is an absolute must, so don’t think you can save a few pennies by not including one.

8. Bar

The first question to ask yourself is who is providing the drink (alcohol and soft) for your wedding? Are you hiring in a bar company to do this or are you providing your own?

If you’re providing your own then you will need to look at hiring a bar and staff who can chill and serve this on the day.

If you aren’t providing the drinks yourselves then you will need to hire in a team who can provide everything you need.

9. Lighting

There are so many beautiful lighting options from Edison bulbs to festoons and fairy lights. The options are endless, so speak directly to your marquee company who will be able to advise further.

It’s also important to consider what else may require lighting e.g. your toilet facilities, the car park etc. It will most likely be dark when guests leave, so it is important to consider how they will make their way offsite safely.

10. Wet Weather

My advice would be to always have a backup plan! You never know what is going to happen weather wise so being prepared for all eventualities is key. It could be that you need extra matting running from the car park to the marquee. Or that you need to have a backup plan for your outdoor ceremony and drinks reception.

Having a plan B results in a lot less stress and panic on the lead up to your wedding. If you’re unsure on your plan B then get in touch, I’d be happy to discuss this with you further.

I hope these 10 tips have helped you to make sure nothing gets missed when planning your marquee wedding. If you’re still a bit unsure or want to double check you have everything accounted for then get in touch. I’d love to hear all about your marquee wedding.

Image credits – Glix Photography / Firewood Film / Boutipi / Hannah Rachael Weddings

Planning Advice

3 Planning Tips for 2022

I thought I’d start 2022 off by sharing 3 planning tips to help you get excited about planning your wedding. I hope you find these 3 planning tips help to keep you focused and most importantly overwhelm free.

1. Don’t Rush

Rushed decisions normally lead to costly mistakes when it comes to wedding planning.

To avoid making rushed decisions take time to…

Get clear on your budget – You might not know how much each supplier or element is going to cost, but it is important you understand how much you want to spend in total!

Identify your core values – These are the things that make you unique as a couple. Your likes, dislikes, the food and drink you love and the experiences and adventures you have together. Note these down and get clear on what’s important to you. You’ll want to find suppliers who align with these.

Pinpoint your wedding priorities – Get clear on your 5 must-have elements, the details and suppliers you can’t see your wedding without. It’s normally a good idea to prioritise sourcing these.

Don’t feel pressured into making spur of the moment decisions and don’t feel as though you need to include details that don’t align with who you are as a couple.

2. Choose your team wisely

Choosing the right team for your wedding can feel overwhelming and it can almost feel impossible to know where to start when you’re faced with so many suppliers to choose from.

You want a team you can trust! A team who ‘get’s’ your vision and what you’re hoping to achieve. One you won’t have to micromanage or worry about on the day. Suppliers you just bounce off, who you can be honest with and who you are confident will provide the best service possible.

So, what can you do to make sure your suppliers are the right fit for your day?

1. Check the images on their website and social media their own work – You want to make sure the content which has attracted you in the first place is their own and has not been taken as ‘inspiration’ from someone else’s portfolio. Check the image credits, have they contributed to that image in some way? If the images are purely ‘inspiration’ then you might end up disappointed with the service, they provide.

2. Double check what experience and knowledge they have – Do they share snippets of their knowledge and expertise on their website, social media, and blog? Do they have testimonials which back up their services and the quality of their work? You want to make sure your suppliers have the right knowledge and expertise for the role you are hiring them for.

3. What does your gut say? – Do you like them and their brand vales? You will be working you’re your suppliers closely in the run up to your wedding and on the day itself, so it’s important you feel comfortable around them. You want to surround yourself with a team who take the time to understand your wedding vision. Who you feel you can ask questions.

Remember, your team of suppliers have a significant impact on your wedding and the experience you and your guests have. So, take the time to do your research before you sign those contracts!

3. Get intentional

Pinterest is one of the biggest causes of inspiration overwhelm, so take some time out now to do some decluttering.

Here are some tips to help you declutter your Pinterest board.

Tip 1 – Create a new Pinterest board so you have somewhere fresh to save your images/inspiration going forward.

Tip 2 – Only save images and videos which truly mean something to you, don’t save for the sake of it.
Does the image/video help you to convey your colour palette, the atmosphere you want to create, or how you want your day to look or feel? If not, then don’t save it

Tip 3 – Don’t ask your suppliers to replicate something you’ve seen on Pinterest. Trust them to them use their creativity to design something which feels personal and individual to you and your day. 

By getting really intentional with the content you are pinning, you end up with a board which feels considered and personal. This helps you to create a pool of images which can be used as inspiration when speaking to your suppliers.

Remember, less is always more!

I hope you’ve found these 3 planning tips useful! Why not sign up to my LET’S TALK DETAILS mailing list to receive even more planning tips. I send out one email a week packed full of planning goodness. Click the button below to sign up now…

Image credits – A Little Picture Photography / Florals – Wonderland Blooms & Simply Foliage / On The Day Coordination – Hannah Rachael Weddings

Planning Advice

You’ve Chosen Your Venue, But What Happens Next?

So, you’ve chosen your wedding venue and you’ve secured the date, but what do you do next? It’s completely understandable that you might be a bit unsure of what happens next. Choosing your venue is a big part, but planning doesn’t stop here. Have a read on to find out some things you can do now to help you kick start the next stage of your planning.

Chat to a wedding planner

If you’re considering a wedding planner, then now is a brilliant time to start working with one. Whether that be on a permanent basis or on an hourly basis every few months. They can help you to create a logical plan and advise you of the next steps personal to you and your day.

Work out your priorities

These are your must haves, the elements you can’t see your day without! I always recommend getting clear on your 5 top wedding priorities to allow you to establish the focus for your wedding and planning going forward (these are the suppliers/elements you’ll want to prioritise sourcing)

Get clear on your budget

Your budget is crucial when it comes to your next steps and sourcing suppliers. At this early stage it can feel quite tricky to know exactly how much each supplier will cost, however it is crucial that you understand now how much you have to spend. By prioritising your budget from the beginning you will save yourself a whole load of time, overwhelm and overspending.

Create a contingency plan

It’s very unlikely that you will be spot on with your calculations from the beginning. That’s why it’s always wise to allocate for some inevitable overspending. It’s normally a good idea to add in a contingency allowance for over spending in general, as well as market price increases to your food and beverage (10%-15% is normally a good starting point for this)

I hope you’ve found these tips useful for what to do after you’ve chosen your venue. If you’re still feeling a little bit unsure of what to do next or feel you want to discuss your ideas in more detail then get in touch. I’d love to hear all about your plans so far!

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Image credit – Hannah Brooke Photography / Thicket Priory

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

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Planning Advice

5 Things To Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Suppliers

It is really important when choosing your wedding suppliers to be mindful of these 5 things!

It makes the world of difference when you work with suppliers who adore what they do. Who put their love and attention into everything they create. Who listen and understand you, your day and what you hope to achieve. By following these 5 pointers I hope it will help you to select a team of creatives who align with you and your wedding vision.

Are the images their own work? 

Make sure the images used by the suppliers you are considering are their own! Check for image credits, look to see if they were a part of that shoot/wedding or is it a #repost of another suppliers image or has it just been stolen as ‘inspo’?

One of the main reasons you will be considering that supplier is because you admire the quality of their work, their ability to interpret a brief and because their style aligns with you and your wedding vison. It is always worth double checking this, as come your wedding day you want to make sure they can provide this level of product/service.

What experience do they have? 

Now you don’t have to hire the most experienced person in the room to get the best level of support and service by any means. However, it is important that the suppliers you choose to be a part of your day have the right level of skill and knowledge for what you are wanting them to do.

This also leads me nicely to point number 3!

Are they sharing their knowledge? 

Are they sharing top tips, helpful advice and giving you an insight into their knowledge on their social media, website and blog? If not, it might be worth asking yourselves why?

You want to be confident that the suppliers you choose live up to your expectations and the role you are hiring them to fulfil. So, never be afraid to ask them questions, pick their brains, make sure that you have the confidence that they are the right fit for you and your day.

What does your gut say?

A gut feeling can be a very powerful thing when it comes to choosing your wedding suppliers and is something which shouldn’t be ignored.

Ask yourselves;

– Do you like the person behind the brand, their values and what their business stands for?
– Can you see yourselves working together from now until your wedding day?
– Do you feel they will take the time to understand you and your vision?
– Can they provide you with the level of support and reassurance you need?

Don’t leave it to the last minute!

A lot of suppliers (due to Covid-19) are booking up fast! When you find a supplier you like pop them a message or give them a call straight away as it is likely their diary is becoming very full.

It is never too early to secure your suppliers, 18 – 12 month prior is a good target to aim for especially if you have chosen a peak month (April – September)

So, my advice is always do your research and don’t be afraid to ask suppliers questions. Make sure you love their work so much that you just can’t wait to work with them.

Looking for more wedding planning tips and support? Then why not join my mailing list – LET’S TALK DETAILS!

Click the button below to find out more.

Image Credits: Freya Raby Photography / Hannah Rachael Weddings / Charlottes Floral Design / Skipbridge Country Weddings / Garden Wedding Tipi Hire / Ivy Alice Stationery

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Planning Advice

Your 1 Week Prior Wedding Checklist

It’s nearly the week before your wedding and you, rightly so, want to make sure you have everything ready. You’ve spent months and months planning and want the week leading up to your celebration to run smoothly. So, here it is, my 1 week prior checklist to keep you on track, stress free and ready to go.

You may find not every point on this list is relevant to you and your unique day, however I do hope it helps you to double check no detail gets missed or overlooked.

1 Week Prior

Attire & Accessories

  • Pick up your wedding attire & accessories – wedding dress/wedding outfit/suits
  • Pick up your wedding parties outfits.
  • If you are hiring suits and they are being delivered, make sure you have confirmed arrival time & location with the hire company
  • Collect your wedding rings

Top Tip

Make sure each outfit is packed separately in it’s own garment bag. That way you can keep everything needed for that outfit in one place, helping to keep everyone organised and calm when it comes to getting ready.

Pampering

  • Relax & enjoy having some pamper time getting your pedicure, manicure, tan, brows, hair cut/colour, beard trim

Top Tip

If you are planning on pampering yourself before your wedding e.g. hair cut/colour, brows, tan then my advice would be to book this for the beginning of the week.

You want to give your tan & new hair colour time to settle before the day. We all know we look our best a couple of days post pampering.

Get Packing

  • If your staying away from home the night prior pack your bag for this & the night of your wedding
  • Pack for your honeymoon. Make sure to pack this in a separate suitcase/bag to your wedding night so you don’t have to re-pack and faff later on
  • Pack any styling & décor details you are providing for your ceremony & reception set- up
  • Get yourself as organised as possible for setting your wedding breakfast tables. Make sure all the décor, linen, stationery etc. for each table is packed in a separate box and labelled with the table name/number. This way when you get to your venue it is easy to identify where everything is going and saves so much time

Top Tip

If you are setting up your wedding yourself without the help of a wedding planner or stylist then get organised.

Create a plan for how set up is going to run and what details will be on each table. Make sure you pack each table separately. This way when you get to the venue you know exactly what is going where.

Set-up can take hours so don’t add to your work by not coming pre-prepared.

  • Pack an emergency kit – needle & thread, pain relief, hair pins & bobbles, tissues, hand wipes, deodorant, perfume, lipstick & snacks
  • Packed any wedding gifts which are to be handed out by your wedding planner/venue coordinator during the day. Make sure each one is clearly labelled with who it is intended for
  • Make sure your vows/wedding script & speeches are finalised and printed ready
  • Have your wedding playlist ready to go including music for your ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast & evening reception (if you’re providing this yourselves)

Check-in with Your Venue, Suppliers & Wedding Party

  • Re-confirm timings & logistics with your venue & team of suppliers – if you have a wedding planner they will do this on your behalf
  • Make sure your venue & caterer has an updated version of your guest numbers, seating plan & menu pre-orders
  • Make sure you have made all payments necessary & have a plan for any on the day payments (either your wedding planner will take care of this or allocate a member of your bridal party to do this)
  • Re-confirm morning prep timings with your wedding party. Make sure everyone knows what time they have to be up ready for. Remember you will need to be in your wedding outfit 1 hour prior to leaving for your ceremony. This will give you plenty of time for photos and additional hair/makeup touch ups.
  • Create a plan for the morning of your wedding. If guests are staying over the night prior make sure they are aware of breakfast times, where they can grab a coffee etc.

Day Prior

  • Set-up all your styling & decorative details ready for your arrival (if your venue allows)
  • Final details meeting & walk through with your venue coordinator
  • Ceremony rehearsal (if you are having one)
  • Rehearsal dinner (if you are having one)
  • Try to relax. Maybe you have plans to spend time with family & friends or just chill, whatever your plans enjoy them!

Top Tip

Try to make sure that you don’t leave any jobs to the last minute. The last thing you will want to be doing is rushing around, packing for your honeymoon or creating your playlist the night prior to your wedding.

I hope you’ve found my week prior checklist helpful in getting you thinking about the lead up to your wedding. To keep updated with all my latest top tips and wedding planning videos follow me over on Instagram @hannahrachaelweddings.

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Want to double check that no detail has been missed or unaccounted for ahead of your wedding day? Want to double check you have everything confirmed and ready to go with your venue and team of suppliers? My Wedding Planning Hours are the perfect opportunity to run through your wedding plans and make sure no detail has been missed.

Want to know more? Then just pop me a message and I’ll send you over some more details!

Image Credits – Hannah Brooke Photography / Hannah Rachael Weddings / White Orchid Print and Design / Whitehouse Event Crockery / Yorkshire Yurts / The Little Flower Hut

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?

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.

On My Instagram

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

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