Our founder, Rebecca, is getting married this summer – so with the launch of our Wedding List, she has shared her wedding planning advice that she has gathered over the past couple of years.
At the beginning
An obvious but crucial tip: working out your budget before anything else is imperative. It stops you looking at suppliers beyond your budget which will always lead to disappointment. To begin, decide the most important factors to you both – you could both prioritise five aspects and then order them from top to bottom. Five gets one point, first gets 5 points – adding both of your numbers will give you the most important factors overall! This helps to look at venues objectively and balance both of your priorities (and avoid disagreements).
Researching & Choosing Suppliers
Make it fun! Make a day of going to see venues, tying in a dog walk or lunch. Make sure you are certain on your key suppliers - it massively helped us to have a tasting before choosing a caterer. It was vital to our experience as the food is so important to us. Our first caterer of choice wasn’t right for us but before we went, we were very confident we would be happy.
Furthermore, asking photographers to see a full gallery of images from a few couple’s days is a great insight. Instagram can be a very carefully edited showcase and it’s not always representative of the images you will get. This impacted my decision greatly, too.
Wedding venues will put pressure on you to sign as soon as possible due to ‘availability’, but I found this to be purposefully pressurising. Take the time to decide on the best option for you.
Finding our ‘people’ suppliers was challenging – where one person is the critical element – such as photographers, make-up artists, florists etc. It was hard to find them and then when you find someone you love, you wait for your enquiry response to come back and they’re possibly booked or beyond your budget. I found that I contacted some people more than once as I was doing it over several weeks. I would recommend setting aside one day to research one supplier category, contact everyone you love, then compare them all and book. This makes it much more manageable and efficient.
Trust your gut and don’t be pressured to do what you ‘should’ do. We decided against having a top table as it wasn’t right for us and equally, we are not especially fond of cake and rarely eat them for celebrations and birthdays, so why do it on our wedding day? We much prefer a glass of something!
To gather thoughts, decisions etc, I found a combination of ways that were best for me. A Pinterest board and excel collage to research and then summarise my preferred colour palette and overall style worked great. Then, I had a wedding notebook to note down meeting notes, decisions and ideas. Finally, I bought a wedding planner spreadsheet online which tracks budget, what is left to pay, RSVPs and everything in between. Any documentation, contracts and so forth I keep in a box file. I found that having an ongoing to-do list of things that I had sorted and what was still to sort kept my head clear.
Rather than a theme, I preferred to work from a colour palette to add depth and interest. I looked for inspiration from where we are having the reception, the colours we are generally drawn to and of course the season. For example, at one stage I was keen to go down a route of multicoloured, bright florals, but ultimately this isn’t ‘me’, however I think this is incredibly beautiful. I think it’s important to build a Pinterest board or similar of what you love most, but to look at it with fresh eyes over time. I have been considerate to the ambience I want to create at the event - how will people move from one aspect to the other, will guests be comfortable, will we be happy doing X, as tradition states - so on. Another example is that I went down a stationery route which, once I had the initial design, I felt it wasn’t us at all and didn’t align with the feel of the event. I loved the design but it didn't match the ambience we wanted on the day.
The other thing I became aware of was wanting everything to be ‘my favourite’ but not considering the overall look. As an example, I have always had various bouquets of flowers saved as my favourites, but it isn’t what I have chosen for my bridal bouquet because it doesn’t complement the rest of my look. The same might go for hair, make up or shoes. Consider everything together when you make your creative decisions.
For our wedding list, I really wanted each gift we added to truly be something we would use and cherish forever, or to build a lasting memory, and to remind me of the person that would give it to us. For example, excellent pots and pans, plant pots and the usual – but we also choose things such as a cake stand, elegant salt and peppers and decorative glassware. Monogrammed items can also be lovely, likewise artisan ornaments such as Pomarius. Other great gift ideas are prints or artwork, or a gift voucher for a small break or lovely meal. You may be opting for a honeymoon fund but if you would prefer for people to know exactly what they gifted you, possibly choosing excursions on your honeymoon that people could directly pay for, or a meal at a restaurant, may be preferred by guests.
Planning your own wedding? Discover the new Rebecca Udall Wedding List.