Congratulations! You are engaged. How incredibly magical, and no doubt you are both over the moon! Now it’s time to kickstart your wedding planning, right? Obvs. But (as I’m sure you’ve gathered) it’s not quite as easy as that.
The most common question I get asked as a wedding planner is ‘where do I start?’. And it’s a good question too! Wedding planning can be so exciting, but it’s also a complete minefield. So many choices, so many decisions, and – more often than not – you’ve never done this before; how on earth are you meant to know what to do?
Obviously, you could hire a qualified wedding planner (aka, me…). Which is something I would absolutely suggest doing, if you’re able to. Having someone who knows what they are doing is actually priceless, and can relieve so much stress. At the same time, you might just want a quick answer to know where to start… I’ve got you covered.
Kickstart Your Wedding Planning
If you are thinking of having an extra pair of hands, whether thats just for some supplier recommendations, on-the-day co-ordination, partial planning, or the full works… I’m your gal. Let’s have a chat – no obligation – and see how I might be able to help. Honestly, it’s not as expensive as you might think. Plus, not only have I spent my whole adult life working in the wedding industry, I’m actually qualified in it too.
You might not be able to hire a wedding planner, and that’s fine too. As a blogger, I love giving information away for free (lucky you…). I’ve recently added a resources page to my website where you can access graphics I’ve created to help you with your wedding planning… Hooray! I’ll be adding to it fairly regularly, so keep your eyes peeled!
The first graphic in the resources page is a guide to help you kickstart your wedding planning, or at least know where to start. The second is a fun ‘guestlist manager’ to help you decide who you should and shouldn’t consider inviting… Enjoy!
Earlier this month I chatted a bit about having an eco-conscious Christmas & sustainable gift buying. I wanted to build on that with a bit about my goal for keeping my Christmas shopping as local as possible, and how it has gone this year!
*I live in a lovely market town with many super-cute independent shops. Not everyone is as fortunate to have so much on their doorstep, so this really is for the people who are able to shop locally! Everyone & their situations are different, and I’d never want to make anyone feel bad for not shopping locally this Christmas. So – as always – if you’re able to implement what I’m chatting about into your life, please do! But if you aren’t able to, then don’t feel like I’m preachin’ (’cause I ain’t!).*
Christmas Shopping Locally – How did it go?
So, y’all know I love shopping locally & using independent companies as much as possible. And with so much literally outside my front door, I thought it’d be a sin to not make the most of it this year!
I made a pact with myself that I would only shop in my highstreet shops this year (or as much as possible), and do you know what? I’ve done pretty bloomin’ well. All the gifts I’ve bought for my parents & brothers (apart from one little thing for my youngest brother) I bought in Tavistock. My other brother will be especially pleased about that as he’s very eco-conscious. I’ve also bought everything for our friends (and children of friends!) in Tavistock as well – yay!
Where I fell down was with presents for Euan – why are men so hard to buy for?! The shops we have in Tavistock are wonderful, but they do lack a bit when it comes to Euan’s taste. However, his entire stocking are gifts from shops on my highstreet, and I’d say 40% of his presents. That’s pretty good, right?!
The Importance of Shopping Locally
So why is it actually important to shop locally? There are many reasons, but these are the ones which resonate the most for me.
Firstly, the environment. In the grand scheme of things, Christmas shopping locally won’t make a huge impact on the crisis. But every little helps! Items in highstreet shops are already there. They have already been shipped, so you’re not adding to your carbon footprint by having things delivered! And if – like me – you live within walking distance of shops, that’s even better! No need to drive to get your Christmas shopping done.
Secondly, supporting local businesses. This is done by both shopping in their stores and shopping along the highstreet, even if that’s a chain. How? Well, a highstreet only thrives if it’s desirable. It’s only desirable if it has a wide range of shops, and shops that people have heard of. If we don’t shop in our highstreets (chains, independents, or otherwise) then shops will close – including the big ones! Highstreet chains are equally as important as independent shops, because without the chains you wouldn’t have the footfall for the independent shops!
In turn, that also means more jobs for the town. The more shops we have, the more employment there is. The more employment, the more people stay living here. The more people living here, the more money gets spent in the town… and so on. You get the picture anyway!
Lastly… It’s fun! And festive. Nothing gets me in the mood for Christmas more than a stroll down a christmassy highstreet, popping in & out of shops, and eventually stopping for a coffee (or maybe even something stronger…!).
Let me know if you did any local Christmas shopping this year! What is your favourite thing to do to get you in the festive mood?!
If you’re needing a bit of festive inspo to help get you in the mood, check out some of my previous posts…
Okay, enough of autumn (for now). Let’s get back to some wedding stuff! Corks & candles – what on earth do I mean? Basically, Euan, my dad, and I have all been saving wine & champagne corks for literally years. We have so many now, it’s beyond a joke… And naturally we’ve just got to incorporate them into our wedding, right?! I have many fabulous ideas of how we’re going to use them (and I’m sure I will not get around to doing them all…) but here is quite a simple corks & candles idea I came up with and thought I’d share…
Corks & Candles – The How To
You may have watched my insta stories from earlier on today (if you didn’t have a watch now. I’ve also saved them to my highlights if you’re reading this after the 24hrs is up!). That’ll show you a little video clip of me putting them together, but here is the written version…
A loooaaaddd of corks (I used red wine corks for the smaller vase and champagne/prosecco corks for the larger vase)
Cylinder shaped vases (I got mine from Ikea – links below)
Pillar candles (again, mine are from Ikea but you can get them from lots of different places)
Something for the candles to sit on (this isn’t necessary, but I think it’s a good idea)
The How To:
Place your candle into the middle of the cylinder
Strategically place the corks around the candle so they are unmovable, but still look nice (much easier with red wine corks than champagne corks!)
Take a pic, and tag me in it!
Haha – it really is suuuuper simple. And I think they look great! Especially if you’re into wine. We’re using ours for general decor around the barn, but if you’re having round tables they would make a fantastic centrepiece. And why not add a bit of foliage around the outside to bring it even more to life?
*Disclaimer* I am slightly worried about them catching on fire, but Euan assures me they won’t… Anyway, I think I’ll soak them all in water beforehand just to be sure. And if they do catch light, hopefully it’ll be contained in the vase…….!!
If you fancy creating these corks & candles decor pieces, here are the links to items I bought. But, we saved the corks ourselves so you’d better get drinking!!
Here we are, 1 year to go until the wedding! I actually cannot believe how quickly time has flown since that magical morning on Dartmoor in April last year.
I’m feeling pretty bloomin’ buzzed for the wedding now. And I know I’ve done plenty of planning updates, but I thought I’d do a little ‘1 year to go’ overview.
Engaged to 1 year to go – What has changed?
Honestly? Almost nothing! I guess I’ve always kind of known what I wanted for my wedding. But, naturally, there have been one or two small changes…
You might remember from one of my previous posts that when we first got engaged we initially wanted to hire a marquee and have an unlimited amount of guests… Well, this never truly sat right with me. We were always going to use the barn for our drinks reception, and move to the marquee for the meal & evening reception (mainly due to the barn’s capacity, or lack of). Even that didn’t feel like ‘us’ though, so in the end we decided to just hold the whole wedding (minus the service, obvs) in the barn. It’s meant that we’ve had to be stricter with our guest numbers, but honestly that has been a blessing in disguise.
Another change was initially wanting to go on honeymoon the day after our wedding, but we found this left us with relatively limited options for where we could go. And also meant we may not be able to take quite as much time off from work as we’d like to. So instead we’ve decided to go on a ‘mini-moon’ the day after our wedding, go back to work for a couple of weeks, and then go on honeymoon (probably the first week in October).
Other than those two things, everything else is pretty much the same! One of the beauties of having a longer engagement has meant we’ve had more time to make our decisions, and therefore haven’t made any that we’ve come to regret.
12 months on the clock… What are my main worries?
With now only 1 year to go, my biggest worry is of course that the barn is not finished. But, it is getting there and mostly it’s just cosmetic jobs to do now (rather than structural) which won’t take nearly as long as the rest of it has done (finger crossed, anyway….!).
The most stressful thing on my planning agenda recently has been sorting the hire of items for the catering & tables etc. But I’m almost there with it now and I will feel a whole lot better when it’s done! Have any of you needed to hire items for your wedding? It’s definitely a tick in the ol’ hire-a-planner box, if that’s something you are deliberating over.
My third and final worry is the outfits for the bridal party (bridesmaids, ushers, littlies). We won’t be able to sort the bridesmaid dresses until December time (one of my bridesmaids is away until then), but I had a good look through some of the new bridesmaid collections at Harrogate this week and found some I loved. Hopefully the girls will be able to make a trip down in December and we can get bridesmaid dresses ticked off this list!
Then it’s the suits & kilts to worry about… but we’re getting there!
Making sure the wedding hasn’t consumed my life has been a big thing for me, and I’m pleasantly surprised about how little I think about it day-to-day. Mostly when I do think about it, it’s just excitement for the day itself! Nothing worse than being one of those brides who can think/talk about nothing else… Something to watch out for if you’re engaged yourself!
Whilst there are still bits to do, I’m mostly just going to enjoy this next year as much as possible. I’ve absolutely loved being engaged – it is truly the most magical time, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for the wedding, but I’m definitely going to make the most of my last year as a fiancée!
For my third wedding planning ‘top tips’ blog post series, I thought I’d explore choosing your suppliers. I’ve touched on this subject before in a couple of previous posts, but again sometimes it’s useful to have some tips all in one place!
As a wedding planner myself, it’ll come as no surprise that I found choosing my wedding suppliers by far the easiest part of planning my own wedding. Having worked with a range of brilliant – and not so brilliant – suppliers, I know how to spot the good from the bad. But there’s also more to choosing suppliers than ‘good & bad’. There can be such a thing as a good supplier who is bad for you!
Top Tips for Choosing your Suppliers
Find or create your wedding ‘vibe’. Are you having a beachy-dream? Or vintage romance? Eclectic modern, with a hint of sparkle? You need to know what kind of wedding you want to know what suppliers are the best fit for you. If you’re not sure then don’t worry, this isn’t as complicated as it sounds. The easiest way to do this is (begrudgingly) Pinterest. Create a secret board, search for wedding inspiration, and start pinning. Anything & everything you’d love for your own wedding, and you’ll start to see a pattern emerge. Sometimes you then need to re-pin from the board you’ve created to narrow down your overall ‘look’, but either way you’ll soon get a feel for the type of wedding you want.
Take advice from other suppliers. Wedding professionals (suppliers) will almost always be familiar with other professionals in the area, and will have probably worked with them before. If a supplier you trust/respect warns you off another supplier, listen. There will always be a reason! Plus, you don’t want to have two suppliers working together on your dream wedding if they don’t see eye to eye…
Ask to see more of their work. This is especially important for photographers, but goes for most suppliers. With photographers, you always want to see at least 2 or 3 full wedding galleries. I’m talking hundreds of images, not just a few highlights. This is because you need to know that the photographer is consistent, and – more importantly – consistently good. Anyone with a camera can take a good photo every so often, but a really good photographer will have an amazing gallery full of millions of images from all their different weddings! And the same goes for other suppliers, or certainly visual ones. A cake maker may have made one outstanding cake but dozens of terrible ones. The same goes for a florist, videographer, hair stylist, and so on… And if they’re reluctant to show you more of their work, then that answers it’s own question…
Make sure they get you, and you get them. Having suppliers who understand what you want from them is essential. If you’re not vibing with them then they’re not the supplier for you. And there’s nothing wrong with that. They could be a world renowned wedding supplier, but if you’re not feeling comfortable or confident with what they can offer (or even just them as a person!) then don’t be afraid to walk away.
I could go on for hours about wedding suppliers, but I don’t think that’s overly helpful. After all, everyone is different and will have different tastes etc. But those are the 4 things that I would say are a ‘must’ for choosing your suppliers. And if you need an extra helping hand, head over to my Wedding Planning page!