In the second instalment of our new blog series, wedding planner Emma Douglas offers a practical approach to the early planning stages
After signing on the dotted line with our venue, suddenly so many other parts of the picture became clear. Having the location and associated costs knuckled down, as well as knowing the venue style and capacity, really assisted in crystalising the decisions to follow. We revisited our budget – adjusting and re-proportioning costs in other areas – before we were on to the next steps…
Line them up: After selecting our date and venue, we had the difficult decision of choosing the bridal party. It was something to ponder very carefully. Although I am blessed with lots of very good, close friends, I knew I didn’t want a huge squad getting ready with me in the morning.
I also knew that having a big bridal party with lots of hair and make-up commitments can mean a very early start and I secretly hoped for some extra beauty sleep! But at the end of the day, my advice to brides is make your decisions based on your relationships with individuals and try not to think too much about friendship group politics.
A considered count: When it comes to a guest list, a simple tip to help you to formulate a plan is to categorise names into groups such as bridal party, aunts and uncles, cousins and partners, close friends, family friends etc. This allows you to rationalise the invites and understand how the numbers in each category compare. We knew we were aiming for no more than 90 guests and in the end, we invited 94.
Be prepared for questions: Expect to be quizzed on some decisions, especially on the important stuff, such as the venue and the guest list. Even as a wedding planner your nearest and dearest want to make sure you are making the right choices. Discuss your guestlist with your parents, so they can give their viewpoints and ultimately make swaps or add additional people to consider. We also thought about finer details, such as single friends and family potentially starting new relationships before the big day. Sticking together as a couple is vital here.
Begin supplier shopping: With the time and place nailed down and a clearer vision of available budget to spend on other things, we began the process of seeking out suppliers we felt were a good fit for us. As a planner, I always recommend people begin with the ‘Big Four’ which is your photographer, band, celebrant and filmmaker.
It is also advisable to book hair and make-up, as well as a florist, as far in advance as possible – these vendors have become more popular, especially with the more established brands in your area.
It’s a common misconception that hiring a wedding planner is an added extra cost, as this will often save you money at this stage. If you’re considering bringing planner on board to help, employing them after the date is set is a wise decision. This means you can glean lots of advice right from the beginning, and get the best value for money from the service.
Planners will help you source suppliers and arrange discounts and even occasionally get you access to things that just aren’t available on the open market. They will also act as a source of inspiration, helping with creative ideas and guiding the budget.
Emma Douglas is the owner of a leading Scottish wedding planning business, Timeless White Wedding Planning, based in Aberdeen. Over the past seven years she has executed dream weddings for more than 400 brides across Scotland and the UK.