Planning your wedding day
I get asked a lot a questions about planning a wedding by brides (and sometimes grooms). Understandably, a lot of brides and grooms are new to weddings and don’t have much knowledge until they start looking into everything.
What do I need to think about when I’m planning my wedding? What should I book?…. Arrrrrrr where do I start?! Are among some of the things I hear regularly.
So I decided to write this list. To try and answer some of the questions that you might have about planning your wedding, and put you at ease with a little bit of knowledge, and advice from someone in the wedding industry.
Now You’re Engaged
So you got engaged, congratulations! Time to party right…..? Well you could, but planning a wedding with a hangover is really not advisable. It can be enough to give you a headache at times and can be a real test for you as a couple.
Try not to let it stress you. Is that argument you’re about to have really worth having?…. Probably not. Deep Breath….. and relax. Now guys, this is an important one, make the effort to help with planning….its your wedding too! Your job wasn’t done when you got down on one knee. Have some input, and show an interest.
If I had a pound for every time I heard “I don’t want to get in the way” or “She’s better at this stuff than me” I’d be a millionaire! Trust me, its the worst thing you can do. Regardless of whether your input is listened to, all she wants is for you to show you care! Don’t sit on your phone or Xbox etc completely ignoring the fact theres a wedding to arrange. That Xbox is a red rag, and your partner is the bull. Get involved, sit down together and make a list of what you both want on your wedding day. That way you have something to work from and tick off as you go.
What should I put on the list?
Everybody is different and wants different things. Don’t get too caught up in planning a wedding like no other, as the chances are its been done before…..Just do you! Here’s a few of the typical things for your list.
The first on the list is both a when and a where and theres a reason for this. Sometimes the venue is more important to you than the date, so if you find the venue you want, you maybe happy to sacrifice the ideal date if they can’t offer it. Of course this works the other way too and if the date is more important, then an ideal venue may have to be sacrificed.
The chances are the venue will offer catering, unless you’re having a tipi or similar. But you may not have got the deal you wanted, or they don’t offer what you want, or you may just want to shop around to see whats out there. There are all sorts of options to choose from, sit down meals, buffet style, hog roast, pizza vans. I’ve even photographed a wedding that had little picnic hampers at their Tipi wedding reception, which was a nice touch. What ever you decide, don’t feel like you have to stick with what a venue offers, as its usually a lot of money for not a lot.
While I’m talking about venues offering things, theres also the room decorating. A lot of venues offer this, sometimes its already included in the package, but this can often be a lot more expensive than having an external team of room decorators. I also know a lot of people that have opted for the D.I.Y option. Although this will save you money, it will also add a lot of stress in the build up to your wedding day, and if anything breaks, just be aware that it comes at an extra cost to you! With the decoration side of things, some of the more common things are blossom trees, light up lettering, chair covers and centre pieces.
Next up is your dress. Theres a lot of styles out there but, I’m sure most of you will already know what you want. That being said, don’t rule one out because it doesn’t look good on a hanger…. you never know until you try it, the one you turn your nose up at could just be ‘The One’. Don’t forget the bridesmaids either when you’re dress shopping, I’m sure they wont want to turn up in their birthday suits.
The next one is something you will both have to think about. Its the suit. Again there are a few different styles but what makes this an important choice is more to do with colour. Think about your colour theme, as usually the tie or cravat goes with the theme. But not all colours of ties go with all colours of suits, so the colour theme will play a part in your choice.
So you’ve picked a dress that looks amazing…. don’t forget the accessories! The shoes that compliment the dress, the elegant jewellery, and, do you want a veil? It may not go with the dress you chose, but if it does, a long veil can make for some lovely photos, which is something to keep in mind.
Hair and Make-up
You’ve got the dress and accessories, now you want to look your best. Theres hundreds of stylists and make-up artists to choose from. I wouldn’t say to pick one based on price, but more on the quality of their work. Can they cater for the look and style you want and are they consistent and reliable? Over the years of being a wedding photographer, I have worked along side a lot of different suppliers.
So I decided to start my own suppliers page. I will only work with the best and most reliable suppliers as ultimately, if I recommend someone they don’t just represent themselves, but they represent me too, as I recommended them. You will notice I only have one supplier for hair and make-up. This isn’t due to lack of suppliers in this category, but more because she is the only one so far, I’m confident enough in to recommend, She is brilliant at what she does and I highly recommend taking a look at Be Unique Beauty and Bridal.
This is something a lot of grooms aren’t bothered about. Ladies, don’t be offended by this, it doesn’t mean they are planning to run off with another woman. A lot of men aren’t really into jewellery, and with the kind of jobs a lot of them have, operating machines etc, they would probably have to take the ring off every day, which means eventually its going to be lost…. We can’t even get the washing in the basket, so the chances of not loosing a ring are pretty slim! With that in mind having matching rings isn’t important, and will open a much bigger selection to choose from.
This is something that not everyone has, but most do. Flowers are a good way to add some colour, again going back to the colour theme choice. There are loads of different styles of bouquets, but would you want real flowers or artificial? I’ve noticed a big increase of artificial flowers at weddings, as with most things, its a “get what you pay for” kind of thing, if they’re expensive, chances are you wouldn’t be able to tell they’re not real until you got really close. Another plus side is they’ll keep, so its another keep sake from your wedding day.
Invites and Stationary
So you now have a date and a venue, a dress and suit, some flowers and decorations, you need some guests! Invites are quite easy to find or make yourself and far better than an email or facebook message. If you want the quick and easy option, buy some, theres lots of people who make them and don’t charge the earth. If you’re more creative and have the time, have a go at making some, you may even surprise yourself. Don’t forget theres not just the invites, theres also the table plan and place names too!
Now you have the guests, how about a little thank you gift? Theres a couple of ways you can do this, depending on budget. You could keep it cheap, knowing most if it will probably end up thrown away. If your budget allows you, you could get a little more personal. Personalised gifts are great keepsakes for your guests and shows some thought has gone into it. I attended a wedding a few years ago and received a personalised hip flask… which I still have to this day!
There is another option a lot of people don’t think of. Charity. Is there one that means something to you? the Yorkshire air ambulance or Tommys baby charity for example. What ever it is you could donate the money you would spend on gifts, and you’ll usually get something in return like a pin badge you can place on the table for people.
You know when and where the biggest event of this year is taking place. You have a dress, accessories and hair and make-up sorted, you look amazing, you have the guests…. but how are you getting there? The most popular choice is to hire a car. There’s lots of options here depending on your taste and style of wedding, from the classic Rolls Royce, to a classic camper van, which looks amazing at the tipi style weddings. Then theres the modern executive look with things like Limos or Mercedes. One company I work with is Executive Cars of York. He’s a lovely guy and can supply Mercedes vans for the bridal party, as well as the executive car for the bride and groom. He looks after his fleet so well, they look better than showroom standard.
This covers quite a few areas. You could opt for a magician, and theres things like fireworks too. Signing waiters have become popular and have a little bit of comedy value also. Two of the main ones though are a singer/ musician/ band, and a DJ. Again I work along side a singer called Matthew Stephenson who is brilliant, he also plays the guitar too. Not only that, but he’s a DJ too, which is very convenient.
You’ve had your meal, and your evening guests have arrived. The DJ is all set up and announces the cutting of the cake, luckily you made a list and didn’t forget to have one made! As with a lot of things wedding orientated, theres a lot of people that make cakes. And this is solely down to personal preference, from one tier or more, what filling, and what cake topper, go wild, because….. why the hell not?!
This is one of those things, you’ll either love them or you’ll hate them. I’ve had people rave about them, saying its great for the guests. The couples have also loved having their own copy of all the photos from the evening in a guest book, with written messages from everyone. I’ve also heard some couples say they hate the idea, and they think its tacky. Personally I love the idea.
This is one that I rate more important than any other item or supplier in the wedding industry. Coming from a photographer and videographer you probably wont be shocked to hear that. But its not for the reason you think. Now just humour me for a minute or two on this and see if your opinion changes. The reason I rate this as one of the most important things (alongside videography) is its the only tangible item to keep that depicts your day, that you can look at when ever you wish to bring the memories flooding back.
You have a venue, it could be a beautiful grand castle, or a modest hotel, regardless you can’t take it home, without the wedding photos or video, you have nothing to see it the way it looked on your big day. The beautiful dress, that you will never wear again, but you have the photos and video of you wearing it to look back on. You have the amazing flowers, if they’re real they’ll die in a matter of weeks. If they’re artificial, they will most likely end up in the same box as your dress in the loft. But you have the photos and video to look back on and see them exactly as they were on the day. The same applies for the cars, the cake, the entertainment, the sweet cart and the decorations.
Something to look back on
They’re all things that are gone by the end of your wedding day. The photos and video however, are something you get to keep. More than that they are something that will visually help you to relive every moment of your wedding day, bringing back memories of even the smallest things that happened, reliving the fun everyone had together and, more importantly, preserving the memories if a friend or loved one you may have since lost. The photography and videography aspect is so much more than just some photos and a video.
With that in mind its really worth taking the time to research any potential photographer or videographer. Remember the “you get what you pay for” comment I made earlier? I can’t stress enough how much this applies here. If someone quotes you £300 for all day, theres a reason for it. You can read more about this, in my other blog “How to find your perfect wedding photographer”.
Thank you for reading my post and, if you’re looking for prices for a photographer and / or a videographer, then please take a look at either my “Photography Packages and Prices” or my “Photography and Videography Packages and Prices”.