Those who remember my previous blog about Christmas party regrets, will recall that we was contemplating writing a book called ‘Memoirs Of An Event Manager’ to share some unforgettable experiences and untold stories from my time working in the industry. The next chapter in that book would without a doubt be ‘Weddings’ – the most rewarding events of all that can at times go terribly wrong.
Here are some useful tips on how to make your wedding planning a success rather than a disaster.
Remember, it’s your day
With so much to think about and so many decisions to be made, it’s easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the big picture. Especially, if other family relatives are involved. Every wedding party has this one member of their family who wants to have a say, who must attend every meeting at every stage of the wedding planning, every tasting and every site visit, who wants to decide on the colour scheme, menu, music and everything that they want forgetting the fact that it is someone else’s wedding. If you want your wedding to be stress-free, do not allow a mumzilla to steal the excitement from you. Remember that you do not have to please everyone. Embrace every challenging question and decision, talk to your partner and come up with a solution together. It is your day and it is you two who should get to choose your venue, your menu, your theming and music that you like. Your dedicated event coordinator will also be able to advise you on the best options.
Leave it to professionals
Many of us here, at CH&CO and eve, are not only event managers, but also wedding coordinator. We have seen many groomzillas and bridezillas, which is generally a jargon term to describe someone who tries to take excessive ownership of their wedding coordination in the run-up to the wedding, but also on the day. Bridezilla will call in multiple times day just to ‘check’ how her wedding planning is coming along. She will have unrealistic demands and treat her chosen venue as her second home, she will start gathering her belongings and deliveries to the venue well before her wedding, just to ‘make sure’ it is all ‘taken care of’. She always knows best and she won’t listen to your advice. She will be your boss, doorman, chef, event manager, waiter and more, and will not listen or relax until you bend backwards to meet her demands, because she knows best how to plan a wedding.
Don’t be that person. You are not only going to exhaust yourself trying to fulfil all the wedding planning expectations you have set yourself, but also end up missing out on your big day. Trust your events team, trust your chef, trust your wedding planner. They have seen many wedding before yours and will get it right for you too.
Plan your running order
Ensure that you understand your hire period prior to entering into a hire agreement with a venue. When it states that you must vacate the premises by midnight, then make sure you do and that this is communicated to your guests before the party begins. To give everyone enough time to depart, the entertainment and service must stop at least 30 minutes before your contractually agreed departure. This is because most venues’ licences only permit social gatherings until a certain time. If this is not adhered to, they may lose their licence. Ask a wedding professional to help you create your order of events to ensure your day is stress-free.
Get a Master of Ceremonies
Worried your wedding won’t be as stress-free as you have imagined? Appoint someone from your family, reliable and trustworthy, who will act as an MC. Ensure that you request a copy of the function sheet with your final details from your wedding coordinator to make sure you are all on the same page and share it with your MC. This way, it will be them who will be liaising with the venue and the catering team on the day whilst you can enjoy your wedding breakfast with no interruptions.
Choose tradition over extravagance
Your wedding day should be the last day where you would want to experiment with flowers or excessive decoration. Remember that you will be spending a good eight hours at your venue, so make sure your wedding dress feels comfortable or that you have a change of clothes to wear after dinner. Listen to advice on timings – try not to have any speeches before a hot course as this can be very challenging for the kitchen team and your food may end up being served cold. You may want to seek some advice on wine pairing – this can be done during your menu tasting. You should use non-offensive, traditional dishes with a wow factor rather than extravagant dishes containing elements that are controversial and aren’t up everybody’s street.
Compile a list of guests with special dietary requirements and ensure you keep on top of it. There isn’t a bigger nightmare than getting your special diets wrong. Unlike restaurants or hotels, venues with in-house or outside caterers do not have an ability to supply an alternative dish on request since they are reliant on their suppliers whom they have to place orders well ahead of your event and the chefs produce alternative dishes for any guests with special diets to order and won’t be able to cover any unexpected surprises on the day of your wedding.
It really isn’t worth supplying your own drinks thinking you will get a better deal by purchasing them cheaper from wholesalers – venues charge high corkage fees for every drink you supply and it may work out more expensive as well as more hassle to provide your own drinks. Unless you wish to supply expensive fine wines, it will work our more cost effective to purchase drinks from your venue or caterer. If you are looking for more specific ones, just ask – they may be able to source them for you via their suppliers and save you time, so you can carry on with your wedding planning.
Get to know your venue
Familiarise yourself with the space that your hire agreement covers. Make sure you ask the venue to rope off any ‘forbidden’ areas such as offices, cellars, pantries – the last thing you want to hear the day after your long night is that the venue is adding a cleaning charge to your bill, because some of your guests decided to wander off in search for a place to take a nap and left an unwanted surprise under someone’s desk. (No, this does not happen very often, but has done in my lifetime). Also, clarify with the venue whether your guests are allowed to dip their feet in their garden fountain – 99% of places would most certainly say no and fine you if you did. We have seen this too, believe or not.
Get an accidental damage cover
It could be worth getting insurance that covers any potential damage that may occur during your event. If not, get one, especially when holding your party in a historic monument with antique furniture and décor. I have seen 300-year-old chair being snapped in two during an event, resulting in a £7,500 bill for repair, which we passed onto our client, Champagne spilt inside a grand piano, an ancient wall reversed into. One-off event insurance costs pennies compared to the cost of repair of damaged stairs in historic buildings.
Well, there you go – some top tips to think about when you start planning your wedding. If you need any more advice, or want to browse our venues, visit us here!