When I first became engaged, I just assumed that me, my fiance, my bridesmaids and the internet were going to be my closest companions. I had 18 months to plan my wedding and started off with stage one; designing my ‘Save The Date’ cards and pulling my wedding guest list together. This was something very personal to me and I knew that this part of the process needed to be managed by me…and Paul!
I actually designed my ‘Save The Date’ cards on Vistaprint, I scoured the internet for designs, non of which I thought were ‘the one’, so I decided to design them bespoke myself. I had a caricature artist Wittypics design a cartoon of Paul and I and combined it with the Nikki beach logo so all that was left to do was write the copy, print and send.
When planning your wedding my advice is to start your list with the most expensive to the least expensive commitments, and then start your research.
Here was my initial list;
- Event/wedding hire and location
- Catering – food and drink packages
- Design and printing specialist for Save the Dates and official invites
- Interior & decor
- Confectioner/Cake maker
- AV support
- Equipment hire
- Wedding photographer
- Table planning, setting & design
- Wedding favours & thank you gifts
Once your guest list is made, it will give you an idea of the size of your wedding, so you can approximate numbers for your venue hire and catering, which we knew would be one of our most costly expenses. We have hired the entire estate at Colshaw Hall in Cheshire for the day and evening to accommodate our 160 guests. The venue includes, onsite cottages, a seven bedroom stately home, dining rooms, drawing rooms, living quarters, a chapel, a gym, indoor and outdoor event space all enclosed within acres of land, lakes and greenery.
We sourced Barratts catering to design our food menu which will showcase a three course dining experience of parma ham and artichokes, fillet of beef, and gooey chocolate deserts. Traditional Modern British cuisine canapes will be served post ceremony, a selection on Caribbean canapes in the late evening, and a celebratory champagne & wine package to keep all our guests truly fed and watered.
The interior design and floral arrangements was next on the list and I knew exactly who to use for my floral design. Red Floral Architecture based in Cheshire have a great reputation for creating the most exquisite floral displays, so I didn’t need to shop around, I just booked them straight away. Their designs blew me away and I have chosen some fabulous features for the wedding chapel, stunning floral and candle designs for the guest tables and the top table.
The entertainment was the next stage, we want to throw a huge party with artists and musicians, so this was given to Paul (the only task he wanted to take over) and of course he well and truly smashed his budget! With our wedding being Nikki beach themed, we’ve hired beach day beds, parasols, live saxophonists, bongo players, violinist, pianists and DJ’s. With our booked artists having 10 UK No1 hits between them, the set list will be immense and the highlight of the day.
Once all of the above were booked, it was then time to look into confectioners, the table plans, table designs, furniture hire, and AV support. Other parts of our list such as wedding favours, wedding gifts and little personal touches came much further down as they are the bits that are fun to plan a few months before the big day.
One thing that I haven’t mentioned here is the most memorable part of my day..my wedding dress! I personally wanted to get all of the logistical planning arranged so that I could then start the process of the more exciting tasks like shopping for my wedding dress, and researching hair and make up ideas. That in itself is another blog to come, as its another huge decision with lots of choices, styles and Pintrest boards to delve into.
Six month into our wedding planning, someone asked a very important question, would we hire a wedding planner? With me having a PR & events background, this is what I do, and what I love, but as the months were closing in, and the majority of my suppliers had been sourced, I began to think, who’s going be on site when the deliveries and furniture arrives, who was going to be the point of contact on the day whilst I was getting ready, who was going look after the musicians and artists, and who was going to make sure any hiccups were ironed out and that the day ran smoothly?
After contemplating these questions, we decided to hire a wedding planner. This was because I wanted the stress taken away from Paul and I on the day. We’ve been working with Make Events for six months now, and they have been fantastic giving us ideas that newlyweds-to-be might not have thought about. They have undertaking tasks such as sourcing all our AV, lighting, dancefloor, stage, riders the artists, organising our first food and wine tasting, chair and furniture hire to name few. They have liaised with all our suppliers and artists and have put together an event order so that on our wedding day, everything will be look after, so Paul and I concentrate on enjoying our day.
Would I suggest hiring a wedding planner? The answer is yes. I believe that your wedding is an event, and events are stressful, and that stress should be taken away from the bride and groom. Some people may be thinking that this also comes at a price, which a professional company would, however, ask a family friend or someone that’s close to you to volunteer to take charge, liaise with them over all your objectives for the day, and keep them in the loop with all your wedding decisions. Most event hire venues will have Events Managers so use their support as much as you can.
With six months to go now before our big day, I can honestly say that without a wedding planner we would not be as organised as we are today. The whole process so far has been enjoyable and so much fun. We look forward to our wedding planning sessions every month to touch base on any changes to make sure our wedding day runs without a hitch!