Updated: Aug 31
You’re engaged! Congratulations! This is such an exciting time for you: the initial surprise, the fun to be had in telling everyone and, of course, flashing the ring!
Now what? Perhaps you’ve already found the whole idea of planning a wedding overwhelming: so many decisions to make, and so much choice….
So, I thought it might be helpful if I shared some wedding wisdom from some of the amazing suppliers I’m lucky enough to know: little tips and pieces of advice that they’ve picked up along the way.
Enjoy Being Engaged
My own first tip is just “Breathe”! Don’t rush into planning anything straight away - take some time to relish that newly-engaged feeling. Enjoy the excitement of all your family and friends, but remember to share some quiet time with your loved one, too.
This point is echoed by Emma Sergeant, Balcombe Place - and newly-engaged herself! As a wedding planner, she reminds us of how easy it is to be swept up in the excitement of planning your big day, but that you must remember to live your usual life, too.
After all, if every waking moment is spent thinking about your wedding day, what will you do when it is all over? Enjoy the planning, of course, but don’t obsess about everything.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
It’s easy to get carried away with wanting every last detail of everything to be completely perfect, but does it all really matter? No-one will notice if you don’t have a rustic arrow, or hand-written chalkboard, indicating the way to the ceremony or the dance-floor. But they will remember watching you join hands with your loved one; your first dance; laughing at the speeches - and the outrageous dancing!
To paraphrase a famous saying “People won’t remember what the chairs looked like, or which wine glasses they used - but they will remember the way your day made them feel.”
Set the Mood
Decide on the overall feel of your day. Do you like the idea of a festival-style, outdoor wedding, maybe with glamping in the next field? Or a vibrant, modern, urban wedding in a cool, city-centre venue? Or something with a decadent, house-party feel in a beautiful country house? Or, maybe, an extravagant and luxurious wedding in a grand hotel?
Once you know the sort of thing that’s right for you, you’ll be able to put all the other elements into place more easily.
Make It Personal
Of course, it won’t come as any surprise that I’m going to remind you to think about your ceremony - shock! The whole reason that everyone is there is to see you get married, so why wouldn’t you make your wedding ceremony as individual and special as the rest of your day? No brainer, surely?
But it’s not just the ceremony - have you thought about choosing food that has a resonance for you? Or do you really want to have the chicken/beef/salmon that the venue always serves?
Rebecca Cook, The Garden Chef, loves it when couples ask her to create something completely personal to them: the food they had during the proposal; favourite meals from childhood, or from important moments in their lives. One couple had mini cheese on toast because that’s what they lived on at university, where they met - how fantastic is that!
What about sharing platters, picnics, take away boxes: think about whatever makes you happy, and makes you smile.
Talking about food, a practical tip from Rosie Honywood, Sussex Wedding Suppliers, is to remember to include yourselves in the numbers for meals, chairs etc. You’d be amazed at how many people forget to do this!
Don’t be Afraid to Ask
Remember that this is Your Day, so don’t be afraid to ask: I asked my florist to use anemones, but not red ones. I really wasn’t a Bridezilla, (honestly!), I just didn’t like the idea of red flowers next to the bridesmaids’ green dresses, and the florist was only too happy to help.
As Emma at Balcombe says, “no question is too small when it comes to your wedding!”
And sometimes, your question can lead to something even better than you had imagined. Nicky and Clara at Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa, told me the story of a guest who wanted to propose to his girlfriend whilst they were staying at the hotel, and asked if the hotel staff could put the engagement ring into a glass of champagne.
Well, of course they could, but they suggested something else. They took the champagne to their on-site chapel, which they filled with candles, to create a beautiful, atmospheric place for a romantic, and private, proposal - perfect!
So always ask!
Not Just Another Couple
When the time comes to start thinking about your suppliers, choose people who are excited about your wedding, and people you are excited to work with to bring your vision to life.
Brian Mole, DJ, suggests that you should try to meet all your potential suppliers face-to-face, either in person or via Skype/FaceTime calls. This is the best way to find out what they are like as people, and whether you actually like them - really quite important when you’re deciding who to have around you at such a personal event.
You're not “just another couple”; you have your own, individual ideas and dreams of how you visualise your special day, so select suppliers who connect with you on a personal level, as well as professionally.
One of the nicest things a couple said to me was that their wedding was “A memorable day made perfect by someone who cared as much about the day as we did.” And that’s how all your suppliers should make you feel.
So, take some time to enjoy being engaged, and then, when the planning begins, remember to be you - both of you! Choose elements that inspire you, amuse you, delight you but, most of all, reflect you - individually, and as a couple.
Remember why you’re getting married: because you love each other - everything else is just trimmings!