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Planning a wedding? To help you get the most out of your experience here is some amazing advice from London’s top wedding planners

 

Planning a wedding is exciting right?! A chance to fuse everything that’s important to you into one amazing celebration with all favourite friends and family from around the world!

Yet at times some can find the experience of planning such a celebration a bit scary/ stressful. There is suddenly so much to think of: how to plan a timeline? How much food and booze do we need? Where can we find a venue? What if it rains on the day? What suppliers do we need to book? How should we spend our budge? Who should we invite?

The good news is that there is some fantastic advice out there to help you plan an amazing celebration perfect for you.

In aid of this, I recently reached out to my past wedding photography couples (now newlyweds) and asked them if they had any advice based on their own personal experience of planning their wedding. What they shared was golden and received a lot of praise from couples currently in the planning phrase.

After sharing advice from those that have recently lived the experience, I thought it’d be really interesting to hear from the other side of the curtain – the experts themselves. So I reach out to 6 of London’s best wedding planners who generously offed to share their top 3 wedding planning tips with you.

I hope you find this helpful in enjoying every aspect of your exciting wedding experience! I’m now handing the mic over to the wedding planners for their gems of wisdom!

Photo of bride in her wedding dress playing croquet

Holly & Susannah’s Top Wedding Tips

1. Break the tasks down to manageable chunks.

When you look at everything you need to do to plan a wedding the sheer volume of it can seem overwhelming, as well as trying to figure out what to do when. We are the type of people who love a spreadsheet so start with a timing plan and put a few tasks in per month. Start with the big stuff and work your way down to specifics. Suddenly when its broken down by month and you’ve got a few tasks every four weeks it doesn’t seem half as scary.

2. Inspiration vs Budget

Pinterest and Instagram are amazing for design inspiration but its worth remembering that a lot of what you see on these platforms can be the result of a big budget. If you’re not able to recreate what you see then focus on key things to transform the space – coloured linens, interesting chairs, grazing platters. Just a couple of touches will set your wedding apart.

3. Keep an eye on your mental health

It’s very easy to get stressed and nervous about the day and worry that it won’t run like clockwork but in reality you can’t control everything, especially other people. We’ve got dozens of stories about things that didn’t quite run to plan because of kids or family members and its these moments that lifted nerves, gave everyone a laugh and made the day what it was.

Thanks Holly & Susannah for your amazing advice!

Holly and Susannah from Revelry Events are a creative wedding planning team who do everything from finding wedding venues, coming up with stylish wedding ideas, managing your wedding budget and coordinating the day.

They produce weddings that don’t fit the normal conventions, push creative boundaries, capture your personalities and, most importantly, show everyone a damn good time. They are based in London but travel all over the UK and overseas to create unique, badass weddings for their couples.

black and white photo of bride dancing on the dance floor with her flying everywhere at her wedding

Priya Thanki’s Top Wedding Tips

1. Budget Management

Keep track of your expenses. Before you start pinning mood boards and trying on the dresses of your dreams, a little budget management will go a long way – a simple excel document is all you need.

When you create your budget, make sure you have a column for the estimated cost, another for actual cost and a third for deposit amount. Don’t forget to include a 20% contingency as you don’t want to run up any unwanted bills. Leave yourself room for lots of notes (when the balance needs to be paid, is VAT included, the costs for upgrades).

Priya’s secret tip: Find a credit card with good rewards. Who knows, you could get enough air miles for your honeymoon

2. Don’t Spend Too Much Time Planning

Don’t plan your wedding too far in advance. Keep it simple. It doesn’t take two years to plan a wedding, I promise you.

Complete the easier tasks first, how many guests, the date, some idea of where you want to get married. Then hire your wedding planner and start planning. I’ve met numerous couples who have planned too far in advance and had buyer’s regret – Don’t forget that your styles and your tastes can change.

Priya’s secret tip: The best prices for venues are normally from January to March.

3. Remember to Laugh

Don’t lose your sense of humour! If you get too caught up in it all, don’t forget what it is really all about – you are marrying the love of your life!

Priya’s secret tip: Let the planner take the stress. I’ve been called in the middle of the night to discuss tablecloth colours, but seriously I don’t mind it’s all part of the service.

Thanks Priya for your amazing advice!

Priya Thanki is an independent event planner: always has been, always will be. It keeps her close to her clients and lets her focus on the finer details. It’s better for you, too. You get to talk to her directly and have the reassurance of knowing that she has a personal stake in getting it right.

She specialises in bringing together all the elements of your wedding including contract negotiation, production design, supplier management, logistical planning and the whole schedule. Let Priya take the stress away.

photo of bride in wedding dress walking across the street in London with a red bus in background.

Valentina’s Top Wedding Tips

1. Go at your own pace, your way

My number one tip is to take deep breaths, slow down, and listen to your heart. It’s not a race – so make sure you take the time to enjoy the feeling of having grown together in this way.

Also, having a longer engagement means spacing out decisions (and taking guilt-free time off from them when you need to), having your pick of suppliers, and making the most of the journey, so why not embrace being engaged!

There is nothing you have to do – no matter what anyone says. You can choose whatever outcome makes you happiest, and use that joy as a compass for every single decision you make.

The secret to happy wedding planning memories is to take things lightly, to communicate honestly and open-mindedly with one another, and to keep gently reminding yourself of the things that really matter.

2. Keep and open mind and an organised laptop

Planning a wedding is likely to be a more logistically and emotionally complex process than you’re routinely used to, so you’ll benefit from a little bit of prep, both practically and psychologically.

I’d recommend setting up an email address to use for wedding purposes only, and create folders for each supplier type or category – so you can be intentional with your wedmin time. Set up a shared folder online for photos, documents, notes, contracts, and so on, so you can both use it as reference at the drop of a hat. Spill all your thoughts onto a master spreadsheet where you can keep track of expenditure, your checklist of to-dos, and your brainstorms – so that your mind is clear when you head to bed at night, or to the cinema for some chill time.

Set yourself up for heartache-free wedding planning by keeping your mind open and eager to learn. There will be problems to solve, costs to understand, and variables to weigh up, but you aren’t alone. You’ll have way more fun planning your wedding if you don’t assume that everyone is out to get you – I promise that that’s not the case at all! Wedding suppliers and venues work in this industry out of love for it, and will go above and beyond to make sure you have the most awesome day.

3. Bottle up that joy into tangible keepsakes

My final tip is to give yourself tangible memories. Cherish these pre-wedding moments by sharing them with friends (celebrate the checkpoints!), keeping mementos, or taking videos and photos of yourselves at venue visits or supplier meetings.

The wedding day itself will be so full of excitement and adrenaline that it’ll go by quicker than you expect – and in that flurry of hugging everyone you may not be able to take in all the details, or just how much fun all your guests are having. And even if you feel that you did, you’ll wish you could relive all that awesomeness over and over again! Particularly if the wedding has turned out to have been more tiring or expensive to organise than you thought, or you’re just having some post-wedding blues, having the positive feedback of reliving it is really key to doing that experience justice.

Do plan to hire the best professional photographer AND videographer that your budget allows, and find some whose work you love (ideally a pair that works together, or has before, so you know they’ll interact seamlessly). You and your loved ones will relish the fruits of that hard work and that expense for decades to come, and they will forever be little pieces of world that make you smile whenever you look at them – no matter what is going on around you.

Thanks Valentina for your amazing advice!

The Stars Inside is a full service wedding design, styling, and creative consultancy studio owned and run by me, Valentina, specialising in bespoke weddings and elopements across the UK & Europe.

Valentina partners with couples to create experiences that are imaginative and stylish, making magic all along the way by being fearless in capturing the legacy of who they are. This is modern wedding design for the star gazers, the dreamers, and the hopeless romantics.

photo of bride and groom dancing at their london wedding

Laura’s Top Wedding Tips

1. Get Help

Whether that be designated friends or family, or via a coordinator or planner like myself. A wedding is a mammoth job, add to that most couples work full time in a day job, and most couples have never got married before! It’s a lot to juggle. Save yourself some time and stress and just ask for help – you won’t regret it! A job that might take you hours to research, a planner will have at their fingertips. It goes by in a flash, so get help in the process so you can take the time to enjoy the planning and all the celebrations that come with it! I offer pick + mix services, for whatever your needs and budget

2. Be true to yourselves and be you

It’s not your MIL’s wedding; she’s already had her day, and you won’t get the chance again! It’s your wedding, your day, your way. Ensure you are comfortable with all your choices for your wedding or you’ll find it hard to relax on the day.

3. Thoroughly research your venue and your caterers

These they will be at the crux of your day, and could make or break it. Ask the right questions, go for more than one visit, and look up ‘real weddings’ featuring them… I also have some great resources on my blog to help with this, such as “Venue Shopping – Questions to Ask” that will help steer you in logistical rational questions to ask.

Thanks Laura for your amazing advice!

Laura from Devine Bride offers pick + mix wedding planning with and runs a multi award winning wedding blog. Based in East London for over 10 years but originally from Glasgow, she helps cool couples plan their wedding in a more flexible way.

From help on the day to hire a bridesmaid, Laura has planned and styled a goth wedding in an industrial metal works warehouse but also an ex-fashion editor’s pretty Chiswick marquee wedding too. Laura’s most popular services are her Partial Planning and her On The Day Coordination packages, but she also does Planning Power Hours if you just need a helping hand too.

Black and white photo of dad embracing his son at his wedding taken by London wedding photographer Matt Badenoch

Penelope’s Top Wedding Tips

The Wedding Vision

Ditch the clichés. You don’t need a receiving line if you don’t want to. You don’t need a first dance if you don’t want to and you don’t need to have a top table if you don’t want to. It’s your wedding and your opportunity to write the rules. Be bold, think big and be creative. The possibilities are enormous so give yourselves time to consider as many as possible, then step back and start to streamline the ideas both of you like.

Create and cultivate your wedding vision together, from the very first decisions you make. Get a date in the diary and get a clear idea of what you would love to see within your day. This includes moments as well as milestones.

Do establish your priorities. For some, it’s the fairy tale church ceremony they’ve always dreamed of. For others, it’s a unique and personal hand-fasting or honouring cultural traditions as they say their vows. Create the right feel for you.

If you’re finding it tricky to envisage your wedding day, try closing your eyes and see what scene comes to you. What are you feeling? What can you hear? Imagine your wedding playing through like a movie in your mind. This can give you a real sense of the overall feeling and aesthetic, making every decision to follow that bit easier.

Creating a clear vision for your wedding now will be helpful in every step between here and the aisle. It’s particularly useful when working out your budget and shaping your guest list to create exactly the wedding you want.

Wedmin and the Journey

Pace yourself and enjoy your wedding planning journey. Like all great partnerships, working together as a team is key to you pulling off the wedding you have both dreamed of. Your marriage is a celebration of the greatest partnership of your life, so start off on the right foot. Play to your strengths. If one of you is a dab hand with managing a budget and reviewing contracts and negotiating, while the other has infinite imagination, assign your planning tasks to suit. Divide and conquer – you can do this!

Celebrate! One thing I always encourage my couples to do is to set mini milestones in their planning and make time to celebrate when they reach them. It could be completing your budget outline, finalising your guest list or confirming your venue.

And in true wedmin style, I’m a big advocate for making your celebration productive too, but trust me, you’ll like these tasks. Why not visit an amazing cocktail bar and explore the jewels amongst their cocktail list to inspire your own big day drinks? Or, why not go to a gig for a potential wedding band? Watch them play live and experience how they sound, how they command the stage and how they get the crowd going. With this insider know-how, you’ll definitely make the right choice for your wedding reception!

The Guest List

Create more than one guest list. I advise an A,B,C approach, based on importance. It’s a helpful way to get an understanding of your wedding numbers and how you may want to structure this. If you need to rein it in, start trimming from the C list. If some A list guests can’t attend, invite a few more from list B. With your vision and budget already in mind, establishing your guest list will be much easier.

Guest list (A): These are your must-have guests you want to see at your day -family, best friends and lovely people you utterly adore.

Guest list (B): This is where you have a list of people you both know and would love to attend but that venue or budget permitting, you may have to restrict and trim.

Guest list (C) Evening: This is great way to include someone from guest list B if you really want them to be part of your day but had to be conscious of your ceiling spend.

Thanks Penelope for your amazing advice!

Penelope Cullen is Tigerlily Weddings’ creative director who describes herself as a storyteller. With a curious nature and a passion for people and design she embarked on telling her clients love stories creatively and unforgettably through their celebrations.

The Tigerlily ethos is synonymous with producing exceptional wedding experiences that reflect the essence of their clients, something Penelope say is achieved by working in close collaboration with other talented creatives to craft the perfect details and moments that will give our clients a lifetime.

Rachel’s Top Wedding Tips

1. Decide on your priorities

Before you get into planning specifics, decide between the two of you what the two or three most important things are, and therefore the things that you can do without.

Maybe you’re foodies and want to serve a delicious seven course feast but you’re not interested in spending lots on fresh cut flowers, or maybe your friends love to dance so a great DJ is a must but a sit down meal isn’t so important. Setting priorities like this really helps you focus your mind and navigate what to save on and what to splurge on.

2. Be realistic

Planning timelines vary, and you can plan a wonderful wedding with any amount of time but if you have specific ideas, particularly for the suppliers you want to use, you have the best chance of booking them at least 12 months ahead of the wedding.

Of course, the more flexible you can be, the less time you need to plan. Or rather, the less time you have, the more flexible you need to be!

3. Enjoy!

Getting married is meant to be a joyous occasion and planning the wedding should be too. Don’t forget that if you don’t want something at your wedding, you don’t have to have it, nothing is obligatory and if it’s not making you happy, ditch it!

If certain elements of the organisation are proving stressful, make sure you delegate. Whether this is asking for help from friends and families or offloading a few key tasks to a professional, you don’t have to struggle with everything yourselves. Take time to enjoy being engaged and the process of planning your wedding.

Thanks Rachel for your amazing advice!

Rachel loves to help couples in any way she can to put together their dream day. Whether that’s a one off planning session to work through their budget or being there on the day to ensure everything runs smoothly, her services are totally flexible and more affordable than films starring J-Lo would suggest.

Rachel makes the whole process smooth, stress-free, and most importantly of all, FUN.

photo of bride and groom laughing during the ceremony

And That’s A Wrap!

Thanks again so much to Holly, Susannah, Priya, Valentina, Laura, Penny and Rachel for being so generous in sharing all this amazing advice!

Having worked with over a 100 wedding couples as a photographer, I’ve witnessed first hand how valuable this advice can be on the wedding day and the planning process.

My personal advice to you would be to never lose track of what’s important to you and your partner. Even from this article, only take on the advice that makes sense to you and the wedding you’re planning.

And if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed or think you could benefit from some extra support/advice, then reach out to a wedding planner like one of these amazing 6.

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