Many congratulations on your recent engagement!
Now the fun really starts. However, first and foremost please take time to enjoy your engagement.
As an experienced and professional wedding planner I meet so many lovely, deliriously happy couples who want to dive head first into planning their wedding without taking the time to breathe, celebrate and enjoy their engagement. I certainly know how magical this time is for you and here are my top tips:
Ever practical me, check your insurance. Ensure that this beautiful new diamond ring is covered (God forbid that you should lose it or misplace a stone!)
Celebrate! Shout it from the roof tops if you like but make sure all your important people, especially older family members who don’t use social media, are given the fantastic news.
Now you can truly start planning your wedding.
Many couples have never undertaken such a huge task and although this will be a joyful time for you it can become quite a stressful time for you both. With hectic work schedules and even busier social lives it’s important to clarify a few essentials regarding your special day, so that you are starting on the right foot.
The most important thing to do first is to set your budget. No one really likes to talk about money, but it is important to do this, and do it first.
You may already have an idea of the style of wedding that you wish to have. Whether it be a beautiful, elegant marquee wedding in the countryside or in a London wedding venue, make sure you discuss what you would both really want.
Get your Bridal Party onboard. This may seem like an easy task but don’t underestimate this and remember that this is YOUR wedding and therefore you choose whomever you wish.
There will be an awfully long list of jobs and tasks to be undertaken so purchase yourself a pretty notebook or file to keep your records, ideas and plans neatly together. Pop a notebook by your bedside too for those brainwaves you have in the middle of the night!
Consider hiring a professional and experienced wedding planner. Planning a wedding can take over 250 hours which is a huge number of additional hours to find, especially if you are juggling hectic work and social schedules. Many offer different levels of services from Full Wedding Planning to Partial Wedding Planning and Wedding Day Management.
Weddings By Mary has created a FREE GUIDE which provides further tips on getting your wedding plans started. Simply click on the link to receive your copy.
Happy Wedding Planning xXx
This is a good question and one that, as an experienced and professional wedding planner I am often asked. It is universally thought that only those couples getting married who have an above average wedding budget* can afford and benefit from the services of a wedding planner. Not true!
Every experienced and professional wedding planner will charge slightly differently but on the whole most UK wedding planners will charge between 10 – 15% of your total budget spend to fully plan your wedding, with a minimum fee applicable.
A Full Wedding Planning service generally includes locating your perfect wedding venue, sourcing high quality, trusted wedding suppliers, organising and attending meetings with florists, photographers, caterers, cake designers, make-up and hair trials and acting as the main point of contact for all those involved in the wedding day.
Having an extensive network and knowledge of professional wedding suppliers, a wedding planner can ensure that they are not only totally confident with the suppliers they recommend to their clients but are also a suitable and a perfect fit for the bride & groom. A wedding planners’ role for a Full Wedding Planning service will also include all the administration, or “wedmin” as it is affectionally known in the industry. The wedmin can be a little mind blowing and time consuming when planning your wedding; juggling every supplier’s specific requests and linking them all altogether can become a logistical nightmare.
What you need to bear in mind is that on average it can take 250 hours to plan your wedding. With today’s busy work schedules and hectic social lives that is a huge amount of additional time to find. If you needed to build an extension on your home you would call an expert builder? If you needed to discuss and organise your finances and tax return, would you do this, knowing that it would take you much longer than someone with experience?
With such an important occasion you don’t want to look back and wish you’d done things differently.
The other service wedding planners offer is Partial Wedding Planning. Many couples often wish to plan their big day. But as the months start to tick away, the ever-growing list of tasks, the seemingly endless stream of emails, calls and paperwork from wedding suppliers that planning a wedding entails can suddenly become very overwhelming.
Most wedding planners will take up the reins around 3 months prior to the wedding, enabling the bride & groom to really enjoy the lead up to their special day.
This can be the most difficult wedding planning service to quote for as it will depend on the stage the happy couple are at with their planning and what tasks still need to be completed. Potentially, wedding suppliers may still need to be sourced, guest management compiled along with many other factors. The wedding planner will need to clearly set out not only what aspects of the planning they will undertake but just as importantly what they won’t undertake. They will therefore base their role on the hours they feel it will take to continue with the wedding planning.
Don’t forget that both Full Wedding Planning and Partial Wedding Planning include the wedding planner attending the wedding day itself, usually being the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Finally there is Wedding Day Management or On The Day Wedding Co-ordination as it is also known. The fee for this wedding planning service usually ranges between £800 – £1,500 and again will be dependent on the hours the wedding planner will be required. Wedding Day Management however doesn’t just include the experienced and professional wedding planner to assist on the wedding day itself. Many wedding planners will meet with the couple a prior to the big day to run through the details, contact all the wedding suppliers to make their introductions as well as put together a comprehensive time plan of the day.
As a member of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) Weddings By Mary doesn’t accept commission. Double check with your wedding planner whether they accept commission from the suppliers that they use as this can make a difference to your wedding budget.
Read the UKAWP’s blog on the subject of how much do wedding planners charge for further great advise.
(*The average UK wedding costs approximately £30,000)
As an experienced and professional wedding planner, I am passionate about weddings. However, I do appreciate that whenever anyone utters the word ‘wedding’ pound signs suddenly appear and someone, usually the bride’s parents or the future Groom, break out into a cold sweat!
Establishing your wedding budget is THE most important task that you should undertake first.
1. Important Conversations
It’s not very romantic and let’s be honest no one likes to talk about money. However, it is very important to have that all-important conversation, not only with each other but also with family members who you feel may wish to offer a financial contribution. Knowing what their financial input will be from the start will assist you in your planning journey.
What monies have you already saved and where could you start to save? We all love a cheeky cappuccino or two, or a weekend away, so why not cut back on these during the wedding planning period? As the saying goes ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.’
Prioritise what is important to you as a couple. Remember, this is your day and what is important to you as a couple may not necessarily be important to someone else for their wedding. A key trend for 2019 is making weddings more personal. Adding special personal touches that are an essential part of you, either as a couple or individually. Everyone’s priorities for their wedding are different, so set yours from the start. For you perhaps providing your guests with fabulous unforgettable food and endless flowing drinks is important or maybe you have your heart set on a top professional wedding photographer or an awesome floor-filling band.
4. How do you want your wedding to feel?
What one word would you use to describe your wedding? How do you want the day to feel and, just as importantly, how do you want your guests to feel on your special day?
When you are out rather than impulse buy you can think rationally as to whether it will fit in with what you really want for your special day. You may be thinking classic. You may want more a more elegant wedding, or you could be thinking rustic or vintage. It’s very easy to sit on your laptop or mobile phone and scroll through websites and click ‘Buy Now’ just because it looks pretty and it’s only a few pounds. But before you know it those ‘few pounds’ will add up and may well end up with lots of bits and pieces that you don’t really need or actually use.
Be honest with yourself and try not to compare your wedding to something you see on Pinterest.
5. Wedding Day Savings
There are of course plenty of tips and ideas that you can explore to help with your wedding budget. For instance, why not have canapés as your starter and your wedding cake as dessert. Also, remember every guest does have a price tag attached, so be sensible and consider wisely when compiling that all-important guest list. Another 10 guests doesn’t sound many but add into the mix, table, chairs, linen, crockery, china, glassware, floral arrangements, place cards and favours to name but a few. You haven’t, as yet added that fabulous food and drink you are planning to offer. Why not read my blog on creating your guests list https://www.weddingsbymary.co.uk/compile-important-wedding-guest-list/ as your guest numbers will have the greatest impact on your wedding budget?
6. Budget Schedule
Finally, create a budget planner to help you keep track of all your wedding finances. A simple spreadsheet will suffice. List all the wedding items you will need then allocate an amount to each, bearing in mind that approximately 45% of your total budget will be on the reception (venue hire, food & drink) with the remaining 55% towards everything else. Make sure that you all also have a 5% contingency for those unexpected surprises.
Clearly, it can be very easy to get carried away in all the excited and lose control of your spending. But hopefully, these tips will help you keep on top of your costs and avoid approaching your special day thinking “how on earth are we going to pay for this?”
Part of my service as an experienced and professional wedding planning is to create a budget planner and keep a close eye on your wedding planning budget therefore helping you spend wisely.