Wedding planning need not be an insurmountable task , full of stressful moments and endless task lists. If you have now joined the ‘I’m getting married ‘ club, congratulations! I’ve put together 10 very useful tips to help you get started with planning your wedding, practical steps you can take e to ensure a smooth planning journey
It’s easy to rush into making ALL the plans but I highly recommend taking a pause to call your friends and family, share the good news as many times as you wish and just truly enjoy the moment and well wishes.
This is really important before you commit any time or resources to planning. As couple, have a conversation about what kind of wedding you want to have, you might be surprised that each of you has certain things that are deal breakers that require a compromise to be met. It’s in these conversations that you get a picture of the kind of experience the wedding will be.
Once you have an idea of the kind of wedding you want to have, take some time to really get inspired. Now is the time to immerse yourself in wedding world! Dive into wedding blogs and directories , start a Pinterest mood board to help you catalogue the things you like. This will also be very useful for your wedding planner , stylist and florist for example, later down the line when you are explaining your vision.
Set a budget. I cannot stress this enough. Be clear form the beginning how much you have available to spend on the wedding including family contributions. Create a simple spreadsheet or tracker that will help you stay on top of spending throughout the planning process. Your budget should reflect your priorities. If food, drink and entertainment are paramount, your budget should reflect this. Always have a contingency built in for unexpected costs and last minute changes.
If the thought of planning a small birthday party makes you nervous, I highly recommend seeking out a few family members and friends who you know are reliable to help you with your wedding planning. If you have the budget to do so, consider working with a wedding planner.
If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we must plan for the unexpected. I highly recommend, actually insist on you finding a wedding insurer that can give you peace of mind in the event of any mishaps or issues on the day or leading up to it.
when you’ve done the above and are ready to start committing to your wedding plan, start with the big stuff, the high ticket purchases. In this case, your wedding venue or location. It is often the biggest cost , closely followed by food and beverage. The venue also sets the tone for your celebration so do spend time researching and evaluating a space that will be ideal for the style of wedding you want to have.
Wedding planning should not be a stressful slog you have to get through to have a wonderful day. Enjoy key moments such as the food tastings, bridal appointments, choosing your décor. Invite friends and family you know who will make the experience of each of these moments even better – you are well within your rights to not invite that aunty who always has something (negative ) to say. You want positive vibes only during this time.
Now is not the time to try some crazy fad diet or embark on a ‘shredding for the wedding’ regime. I recommend allocating specific time or a day of the week to your wedding planning so it doesn’t take over the rest of your lives and remains something you look forward to doing as a couple. With everything else that is happening in the world around us, be particularly mindful of not allowing the run up to your wedding become a stressor.
Once you finally get to the big day, it is amazing how quickly time passes. Often my couples remark on how swift the day goes after the ceremony. I always encourage them to be wholly present in each part of the day, having help ensures you’re not worrying about the detail when you should be enjoying your big day with loved ones. I also advise to schedule time for just the two of you during the day so you can both take a step back and take it all in.
Yes, you read that right. Despite the unclear directives, ever changing guidelines, reduction in numbers, postponements, cancellations. You can still be excited about planning your wedding and you should be . I want to start by acknowledging how tough these past months have been for you.
I have felt this too with my clients, I have lost weddings through cancellation which has been devastating on both sides. However I have continued to lead with optimism, despite having days when it feels like this is never ending and we won’t see large gatherings again.
No matter where you are on your wedding planning journey from newly engaged to organised planning pro who has perhaps already dealt with a postponement, I hope the following tips will help you get excited again. My advice is honest and practical, so you can hopefully navigate the next few months with little stress and more joy. I’m proud to say that this piece also features on the brilliant wedding blog Love MY Dress.
Joy is so integral to what I do and the love of joyful celebration is the reason why I chose to specialise in wedding planning.
Immersing yourself in all things weddings via magazines, blogs and social channels is a wonderful way to ignite or reignite excitement for your day. Bridal shows are still taking place virtually, the creativity of our industry has not been stifled by this pandemic so take advantage of all of these resources. It’s wonderful that one of outcomes of the global discussion on diversity is that more if us can see ourselves in the wedding media, long may that continue!
Have a conversation with your partner and really hone in on what your priorities are , be it guest numbers (would you consider a smaller affair if you were unable to have 100+) , entertainment, decor or food & drink.
Jot down a small list of five things that you absolutely must have which will also inevitably lead you to some things or traditions that you can leave out. Having your priorities set and a budget that reflects those priorities will ensure you can achieve the rip roaring dance party or guarantee every last detail is beautifully personalised , with stunning décor if that’s what you want.
With all that’s going on in the world ( and there is A LOT) it really is ok to share the joy of wedding planning with your closest circle, get them involved!
Don’t feel like wedding planning is a trivial exercise against the backdrop of all the world’s challenges. Good friends and family would love the opportunity to support you in this way or get professional planning support if you’d prefer to outsource the wedmin altogether!
We’re still here! Whether you’re making plans for the end of the year or 2022, our industry is full of the very best suppliers to suit your style and budget AND they’d love to hear from you.
It’s also prudent to check their availability particularly if you have your eye on a specific photographer for example, with the many changes and postponements to next year and beyond- they are getting booked up quite quickly!
In all conversations around services, be clear on the supplier’s policies on postponements and cancellations. In the UK , there are currently few wedding insurance policies available ( and none that cover Covid related issues) so it is important to read that small print.
Enjoy the moment right now, don’t make decisions based on what you THINK might happen in three months time. I can’t stress this enough. My job to is to always have a plan B but second guessing government policy and the goings on of international political relations are outside my sphere of influence and I’m guessing yours too.
If you’re already on your planning journey unless your day is imminent, my advice would be to hold tight before making major shifts and date changes. If you’ve just started your planning, please don’t let the worry of “what if” stop you from enjoying what should be one of the exciting moments before your big day.
If you’d like to chat more about your wedding and how I could help, get in touch and I will organise a virtual coffee date!
Now that you have more of an understanding of what professional wedding planners do and how they can help you, it’s key to get an understanding of how much they cost so you can factor this into your wedding planning.
It’s important to preface this piece by saying that wedding planners costs are reflective of more than just the time (an average 200-300 hours) it takes to plan a wedding. They are reflective of our experience, the logistics we need to manage, ability to identify opportunities to maximise our client’s budgets, they cover our business costs, the team we will have in place to support on the day, our ability to save you money and the many benefits you receive from tapping into our trusted networks.
We are experts at planning weddings in dry hire spaces as well as purpose built structures, marquees at home for example, as well as transforming spaces to meet the expectations you have for your big day. Planners in the Luxury wedding space particularly, don’t crowd their calendars , you are normally part of a small group of clients who we take on annually to ensure you get the attention your celebration deserves.
Costs of Full Wedding Planning Support
Generally speaking, pricing is dependent upon the level of support and services you require. Most UK wedding planners charge a Percentage of your total budget .
Costs of Micro Weddings
Ever changing regulations during this pandemic has seen weddings of just 15 or 30 guests allowed – this is classed as a micro wedding. Couples are still engaging planners to support them with these types of weddings. We are here to help source venues appropriate for smaller numbers, help you transform the space and source the best suppliers permitted within the guidelines. Most wedding planners have a fixed fee approach to this as well.
Cost of Wedding Day Management /On the Day Coordination
This service is for those of you who have organised most of your wedding but would like someone to handover to , a professional who can manage suppliers, oversee the set up and ensure timings are adhered to on the day, amongst other things.
Event Design & Decor only services really vary and this is because size , scale and scope of work has to be determined before even a tentative quote can be provided. That is a key point to bear in mind when approaching a wedding planner or event designer. It is useful to get in touch when you have a venue/location in place at the very least and the venue should ideally have a strong in-house team who we as designers can collaborate with.
Often there little to no hidden costs in the fees however, you must always ask the planner you are engaging if they charge travel and accommodation separately for example. It’s not uncommon for planners to require accommodation if the wedding is happening over a few days or is in another part of the country.
If you would like to talk about this in more detail and you think hiring a wedding planner would suit your plans, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, I’d love to have a virtual coffee with you!
*researched in UK wedding market in 2020 , all information is a guide, specific prices are provided by planners based on their skills and experience.
A New Year brings with it New enquiries! The most commonly asked question from prospective clients is mainly about what I actually do. Here are 12 key ways a wedding planner can help you. This piece has been widely shared and can be seen on Rock My Wedding blog too!
The perception of a wedding planner being an extravagance reserved for fictional characters in Rom Coms is fading away as couples realise the value that we bring.Wedding Planning is a huge time investment, between 200-300 hours in fact and it can be stressful if project planning and management is not your forte. Wedding planners effectively give you back your time so you can focus on the more enjoyable elements of the wedding planning journey.
Wedding planners are excellent project managers and will create a planning timeline specific to your wedding so you know what is happening when. Often they will schedule your appointments where necessary so all you have to do is show up to the tastings or the fittings (the fun stuff) whilst we take care of the boring ‘wedmin’.
Professional wedding planners will agree that creating a realistic budget (and sticking to it) is one of the most important parts of ensuring a smooth planning journey. The benefit of having a planner is that we understand the market, we know what it costs to translate your vision into a wedding day reality and we can guide and advise you accurately throughout.
Yes, you read that right. We often guide couples to make decisions that align with their priorities and offer suggestions on how best to allocate resources. I always have a conversation about wedding favours for example, couples like to spend money on these gestures that are often left on the table or thrown away at the end of the wedding. I always highlight where this money could be better spent – like food and drink, an area that will always add to the guest experience.
Often clients come to a wedding planner with an idea of when they want to get married, the size of their wedding but no venue booked. Wedding planners are adept location scouts who can work with your ideas to show you the best locations taking your vision, any cultural considerations and budget into account.
A planner can be your fixer. We draw from our extensive networks and also put in hours of research to find the right caterers, bands, DJs, florists, cake makers, lighting designers, production specialists to fit your style and budget. You may not know that we also take the time to review supplier contracts to ensure their terms are reasonable and aligned with the experience we are trying to give your family and friends.
I pride myself on having a great eye for styling. I truly enjoy accompanying my brides and grooms to search for their wedding day looks. With a network that includes bridal designers and great independent boutiques, I enjoy being able to recommend the right designer, tailor or boutique to suit my client’s style and budget.
Guestlist management is all part of a full planning service that is offered by professional wedding planners. It’s also one of the most time-consuming parts of wedding admin. To ensure you don’t have to respond to countless emails answering questions about parking, hotels and directions (even if you have clearly put the information on your wedding website ), wedding planners will take this stress from your plate.
Wedding planners aside from being experts in executing events can also be a great source of inspiration for the design of your wedding. If your priority for your wedding is the look and feel, hiring a planner who is also a great stylist or designer guarantees that you have someone who can inspire you beyond the pins on your Pinterest mood board.
Wedding planners bring great value in creating a wedding day timeline that will ensure a great flow for guests. Quiet periods and lulls in the day are not conducive to an epic party. The guest experience is a paramount consideration when I’m planning a wedding. I always encourage my clients to have a few surprising and delightful touches to keep guests entertained, even if it’s just walking them to a different location to do drinks, or adding a wedding illustrator or unexpected entertainment act; little points of interest that guests will keep talking about for years to come when reminiscing about your big day.
On the wedding day itself when your focus should be on you and the day ahead (rightly so) wedding planners are quietly bringing the months of planning together, like a symphony conductor. Managing the suppliers, the setup, keeping the flow of the day going to time, we handle last-minute emergencies, whilst soothing nerves and ensuring you enjoy your day.
Ultimately you hire us to advocate for you in all things we do. We will listen, always give sound and objective advice and we never get bored of talking about your wedding!
If you’d like to hear more about working with a wedding planner, please get in touch . I would love to schedule a virtual coffee date and hear more about your wedding plans!
Extraordinary times such as ours call for flexibility and adaptability, particularly when planning an event. Ever changing guidelines and continuous restrictions mean that right now, the only kind of wedding celebration that can be planned is a micro or smaller wedding. I’ve put together some tips on how to scale back your wedding whilst still ensuring you have a memorable celebration.
You have a wonderful opportunity to focus on making your intimate wedding uniquely yours as you have more time to work with. Wedding Planning is a huge time investment , it’s a job in itself and can be stressful if project planning and management is not your forte particularly when you are planning a wedding with large numbers. The admin that comes with guest management, RSVPs , planning seating, accommodation, transport is all vastly reduced and in some cases entirely removed as these are not necessary for smaller weddings.
The other obvious pro of a smaller wedding is that you can maximise your budget , with more resources to use on fewer guests. You can invest more into the parts of the wedding that are most important to you as a couple , where your priorities lie. If you are foodies for example, consider a more elaborate multi course meal or an indulgent dessert station over standard wedding fayre.
Having fewer numbers gives an opportunity to celebrate with your favourites and also an excuse to not invite the people on your list who perhaps were there to appease your parents or family. If you are having a non religious ceremony, consider that your guest list will automatically include your witnesses , your immediate family – parents /siblings who may also have partners, leaving room around the table for just your very closest pals.
Scaling back opens up the possibilities of different types of venues and more locations. Destination weddings become more attractive as again, costs are not prohibitive because of numbers. Similarly venue options such as a wedding at home, glamping, private dining spaces in restaurants, boat hire, boutique hotel spaces and other non traditional ‘wedding venues’ are options because they compliment the smaller size of wedding.
You get more quality time to spend with each guest at an intimate wedding and in turn guests have fewer people to socialise with and can get to know each better too. You could tailor welcome gifts for each individual guest for a destination wedding, giving meaningful
Personalisation at every step becomes easier with an intimate wedding. You can actually achieve the tablescape you’ve been curating from the pins you’ve saved on Pinterest and ideas you’ve gathered on Instagram. You can really splurge on hiring beautiful tableware as you’re not constrained by budget in the same way as you would trying to replicate this for 100 guests.
You can play around with table seating to add to the guest experience ensuring guests get to know each other better . Seating people on a round at the ceremony ensures everyone gets a great view is a popular trend right now as well as opting for alternating pews and chairs, even lounge furniture over traditional wedding ceremony seating.
Whilst a 10 piece show band is not the best choice for a small wedding or small wedding venue, there is scope to have a variety of entertainment options. A suggestion would be to have an acoustic set or acoustic performers which always lend themselves to more intimate settings and then you could play your own playlist for the party to ensure you get exactly the music you want to cut a rug to .
Intimate weddings give the possibility of extending celebrations beyond the traditional wedding day to other events like a welcome dinner or hosting a brunch the next day. As “buddymoons” become more popular, it’s easier and more desirable to plan post wedding trips and activities with your group of guests after the wedding.
Ditch the traditional format entirely. Change up the timelines of when you do speeches or how you serve food as you won’t be constrained by the format of a bigger event and there isn’t a need for more rigid timings.
I am beyond thrilled that ByChenai Events has been added to the Harper’s Bazaar Top Planner’s list which has been updated to include new & noteworthy businesses alongside the established best of the very best. That my name appears among these greats, whose work I so admire, astounds me. Especially in these trying times, it keeps me motivated to do more, lear more, keep growing to ensure every single ByChenai Client has a wonderful experience.
If you are new to the blog, this series of posts are from a real bride & groom’s experience of working with a wedding planner. I introduced my clients Jacinta & Jeffrey to you here , we started working together in November of 2019 and they very kindly agreed to share their hints and tips to help you , what better way to get a real understanding of what planning is like than from a couple in the same position as you will be?! In this post Jacinta talks us through her wedding dress shopping experience and gives some really honest and insightful tips on the process, finding THE dress/dresses , as well as allowing yourself to change your mind to ensure you are happy with your choices.
Jass,where did you go for your dress shopping experience?
Initially I was set on simple, no fuss and modern style of dress, so I went with the wonderful Andrea Hawkes bridal as the designer of both my dresses. I completely fell in love with how Andrea combined elegance, simplicity and modernism into all her dresses. From the moment I received comms back from the AHB team, I knew a bespoke service was definitely the way I wanted to go. The communication was personal, detailed and so warm and this has been the sentiment throughout the entire process. I chose 2 looks from Andrea and started the process before Christmas.
As my wedding planning gained momentum however, and I had more conversations with my Mum around the overall vision for the wedding, I began to start getting a taste for a dress that brought some glitz, glam and DRAMA. So with this in mind, I reached out to my wonderful wedding planner, let her know my thoughts and that my vision had slightly developed and she was able to help guide me to where I could potentially find a dress that fit this vision, with ease and to an amazing standard of design. In essence I wanted to still keep 1 gown from Andrea Hawkes, but source a different one in style to have contrasting looks for the day.
Chenai booked me an incredible appointment at The Wedding Gallery. I was met with the most enthusiastic and fabulous consultant Dominic to help find the dress. The Wedding Gallery is truly a little piece of heaven and beyond dreamy! I would recommend booking an appointment to any bride-to-be, even if just for the inspo and the unmatched experience.My dress journey has been interesting to say the least, from being completely adamant on one style, to then being open to the complete opposite! One thing that’s for sure though is that my outfits for the big day (ceremony gown and evening ensemble) definitely serve both visions and I couldn’t be happier with the choices I have made.
How did you find both wedding dress suppliers?
I found Andrea Hawkes Bridal on Instagram! Hashtags really did help on this occasion as well as seeing tagged real brides. I found the wedding gallery through my wedding planner. As hilarious as it seems, I never knew they did wedding dresses so I never considered them before Chenai made the recommendation and arranged my appointment.
Who did you take with you to your appointments?
I have been lucky enough to have two experiences with this. My first appointments I went along with my Maid of Honour and my wedding planner. And my last appointmentsI had my Mum, my little sister and Chenai . They were both experiences we will remember for a very long time. We had lots of laughs, breathtaking moments and I felt like such a Princess on both occasions.
Was it helpful having your wedding planner Chenai there?
Absolutely! It certainly made me feel closer to her as it’s such an important and personal piece of the planning process, so it was great from a relational perspective. It was also reassuring because a wedding dress purchase is quite significant in terms of cost and what that dress symbolises, so to be able to have her there to guide me to not feel so overwhelmed was very, very helpful.
What Top tips do you have for brides looking for their perfect dress?
1. Don’t limit yourself to one style, be open to styles you never envisioned yourself if. Even if it’s just to confirm you are 100% set on your initial style! 2. It’s okay to change your mind and develop what you see yourself wearing on your big day. Just ensure you are as transparent as possible with your dress designer and ensure you follow protocol for any changes being made. 3. Have a few styles in mind to share with your designer/consultant beforehand so you have a solid starting point for your appointment.
4. Share the dress shopping experience with those dear to you, and take loads of pictures to remember the moment!
Thanks to Jacinta again for being so kind and open , stay tuned for the next one in the series where we talk all things decor !! This one is a going to be a good one, Jacinta has a clear ( and gorgeous ) vision for how her day will look and we are working with some of the best in the business to bring it to life!
ByChenai talks weddings and traditions to discontinue on the Big Day Babes Podcast .I never thought I’d hear my own voice on Spotify or Itunes, yet here I am by way of Episode 7 of the Big Day Babes‘ Podcast. These 2 babes in the wedding biz scour the web for the most hilarious /weird and bizarre stories in the wedding world. In this episode I am talking about what I do as a luxury wedding planner , weddings traditions and the 1 thing I believe should be binned/ expelled/ removed from said wedding traditions. I had such a ball recording this episode and without further ado , head over to the link below to have a listen!ByChenai talks weddings and traditions to discontinue on the Big Day Babes Podcast.