We’ve asked the wedding planners to solve some of your most-asked questions
Q: Where do I start with planning a wedding?
A: Discuss the things that are important to you both and how much you have for your wedding budget. Allocate your budget to the different areas such as venue, ceremony, catering, facilities, bar, staffing, insurance, stationery, dresses, suits, rings, hire items, décor, flowers, hair, make-up etc. I’m a big fan of spreadsheets to plan the day from suppliers through to budgets, timings and service provision. Do some window shopping so that you can see if what you want works with the budget you have allocated. Are there elements of your day that family and friends might like to help with? If you’re not a spreadsheet fan, you could use one of the planning apps to help you with this. Hazel Parsons
A: Start with what’s important to you both as a couple. Decide on your absolute non-negotiables – not just a wish list but the one or two things that are a must. That might be a location that means something to you, a venue you both love, a band you must have or being on the top of a snow-capped mountain if that’s what floats your boat. The rest will gradually unfold. Rebecca Green
A: Make a cup of tea, sit down together and chat about what you both want, what you both envisage and make sure you're both on the same page. Don't rush anything! Sophie Walker
Q: Are there any planning tools you'd recommend?
A: Bridebook has an app for planning your wedding which allow you to set budgets, create checklists, track progress and give you inspiration and ideas. There’s also TopTablePlanner for planning your seating plan and room layout, and Appy Couple for managing your guest list and RSVPs. Hazel Parsons
A: I’m a big Pinterest user but do try and pin with purpose – or at least try and hone down those hundreds of images to bring together the style for your day. There are also some good free table planner guides from UKbride. Table plans can be a bane of the planning process; if you have a tool that you can save and play with then you won’t get yourselves in a muddle. Rebecca Green
A: The Moleskine wedding journal is an absolute dream! It has sections for eveything you could ever want, and if you're booking a wedding coordinator, it's a fab book to hand over to them as everything is in one place. I love good old Google Drive as well: you can easily share documents with your other half and suppliers and everything is in one place. Sophie Walker
Q: How do I set – and stick to – a wedding budget?
A: Decide what it is you want to spend on – the quality and quantity – and then get some prices to see if it will work with the budget you have allocated. Be willing to compromise on some elements to allow you to spend more on others. Get quotes on all areas of the wedding so that you can make an informed decision on what to buy. Hazel Parsons
A: You really need to know what you’re comfortable with spending, then create a payment plan and figure out how long it could take you to get there. Are you lucky enough to have help with the cost or can you set up a direct debit into a separate account that becomes your wedding account? This makes things easier to manage. We use budget planners that also mean payment terms and dates are clear for suppliers.
Remember to be realistic: weddings are generally quite expensive, even those that are considered to have been done on a budget. If budget is a concern, look at compromising on the date: out of season weddings can be just as beautiful and quite a bit cheaper in terms of venues and some suppliers. We now offer a discount for Cornish locals and NHS workers: take a look and see where else savings could be made. Rebecca Green
A: My top tip is to scrap all the templates and create a list of priorities. Work out what you want to spend the most on: is it the flowers, venue or food? You are more likely to stick to your budget if it's what you want to spend the money on. Also, you need to know when to stop. The wedding world has so many exciting options but ask yourself whether you need it all. Sophie Walker
Q: Do you have any top tips for choosing a wedding venue?
A: Create a hit list of what your venue must have and what you would like it to have. Consider the style of venue, location, cost, size, facilities, accessibility and what is included in that price. Look at what other costs you might need to consider so that you can compare like for like. Create a spreadsheet with a list of your must-haves and add each venue’s details so that you can reflect on all the information after you have viewed them. Hazel Parsons
A: This comes down to what’s more important: location or the venue itself. If there’s a location that’s important to you both, then start there. If you can be flexible on location, then consider who you and your partner are as a couple: do you like a relaxed beach vibe or festival style? Or do you like the finer things in life and love an historical building? Once you know the kind of vibe you want then you’ll be able to narrow down those venues.
A: Also consider other elements that would be important to you: for example, do you want family and friends to be able to stay on-site? If budget is an issue, find out if there’s corkage. If you want a sea view marquee wedding, then think about the type of marquee that would work for your wedding style. Rebecca Green
A: Think about what you want from your venue; do you want somewhere with a good amount of space or maybe even different spaces so you can create 'breakout' rooms? Not everyone loves loud music and crowded spaces. Do you want the veune to supply the catering? If yes, make sure you like the food before booking. Does the venue have recommended suppliers that you have to use? If yes, are your desired suppliers on that list? Sophie Walker
Q: Do you have any advice for finding your wedding style?
A: Some couples have a clear vision from the get-go, others choose their style once they have decided on their venue or the wedding dress. From this, you can choose the feel of your day and the colours that suit. Also have a think about the seasons, the feel you want to create and what colours would work well with the natural light. If you have chosen a farm or woodland venue you might choose natural tones, soft woods, off-white linens, greens and blues. If you have chosen a hotel with a coastal luxe feel you might choose to add clean crystal lines, white or coloured opulent linens, indulgent table décor and metallics touches with soft florals. Pinterest is a great place to start planning your wedding look. Create a board with the ideas you love and look at what will work within your budget to create that look. Hazel Parsons
A: Create a Pinterest board and pin everything you love, then hone it down. I’ve seen lots of boards that have such an eclectic mix of styles that it’s hard for the couple to really see what it is they want. Really think about the type of people you are. Are you outdoorsy and love nature, do you want that sea view or do you want that high-end luxe vibe?
Check out blogs, magazines and Instagram but also think about what’s important to you. I’ve recently had some very creative clients with different priorities and style, but they were all able to put their stamp on their day. One couple were happy to have a secondhand marquee, which they put up themselves, but when it came to the design of the day, they were very particular, down to having the tablecloths printed in their wedding design. Rebecca Green
A: There are so many styles out there, but make sure it's all about you. A good place to start would be your house decor as it says a lot about you as a couple. Or perhaps start with one of your favourite holiday destinations. When it comes to palette, choose one main colour, and then 'fill the gaps' with neutral or paler colours, white or black. It will stop it getting too busy. Sophie Walker
Q: Is there a wedding planning detail couples often overlook?
A: If it’s a DIY venue consider all the extra utilities you will need to bring to site to create your day: power, water, toilets, lighting, heating, car parking, staffing, set-up and pack down. Hazel Parsons
Generally, it’s logistical issues that tend to be overlooked and usually for DIY, marquee weddings. We now have a checklist for couples having this style of wedding. The catering tent is a big one. Some will need to be ordered separately; this can slip through the net as clients assume the tent company will automatically do this or that the catering company bring their own. It’s always worth checking.
Consider the parking and those who will want to drive home the night of the wedding: very often the cars are in an adjoining field with no lighting to guide them back. Also, there’s often a separate catering company and bar, or some help yourself bar – be aware of who’s responsible for the different glassware, otherwise you can be left with a sea of glasses that no one’s clearing away.
A: Finally, make sure you have a plan for waste. Most field owners will want you to take your waste away. The marquee companies aren’t responsible for it. Ask your catering company and bar company if they can take their waste and ensure you have bins around so general waste is easy to dispose of the next day. Rebecca Green
A: Make sure you have a cake knife! Sophie Walker
Q: Is there one key piece of advice you would offer all newly engaged couples?
A: Have the items you really want and be willing to compromise. Remember it is your wedding. Don't feel overwhelmed by others wanting to help. If you have booked a DIY venue, then invest in a coordinator to take the pressure off you on the day. Hazel Parsons
A: The age-old mantra of ‘it’s your wedding, so do you’ is very important. Having said that, I believe in putting yourselves into your guests’ shoes and considering what their experience will be like. Remember those weddings you’ve been to and felt hungry or spent hours waiting for photos to be taken – that way you can make sure things flow and everyone has a great time.
Also, whilst I’m a big advocate of Pinterest and getting inspiration don’t get lost in trends as they come and go and try not to overwhelm yourselves. You don’t have to have a first dance if you don’t want to and never compare your wedding to those highly glossy, Instagram weddings – just take inspiration, not stress. Rebecca Green
A: Don't forget what the day is really about: you're marrying the love of your life. If things get forgotten, it's not the end of the world - you have each other. Sophie Walker
Hazel, a highly experienced Cornwall-based wedding planner, wedding venue consultant and stylist, pairs her event management skills with her styling expertise via Out of the Ordinary Wedding & Events and Keeping It Vintage.
outoftheordinaryweddings.com / keepingitvintage.co.uk
Rebecca is a Cornwall-based wedding planner, whose event producing projects have seen her coordinating stylish and unique weddings and events across the UK and overseas.
Wedding stylist and coordinator Sophie is passionate about creating beautifully individual weddings inspired but memories, stories and unforgettable moments across Cornwall and beyond.
Main image iStock Xesai