It is so very exciting to be engaged. There’s the venue to find, the styling theme to pick and the menu to decide. But while you may be desperate to get stuck into the throws of planning, we know it can be both exhilarating and daunting, especially when working out where to begin.
So here is our little guide, with added tips from the wonderful Tattie Rose Flowers and Kensington Palace, something we thought helpful to pull together for those beginning this thrilling journey.
It’s impossible to find a date that all of the family (let alone extended), old and new friends, close colleagues, partners of friends – the list goes on – can make. So, remove the pressure and don’t try to accommodate from the get-go. Rocket senior event manager and 2019-newly-wed Louisa Moule says, “I would suggest sending a message to family and closest friends to check their availability only”. People won’t be offended by your inflexibility and it saves you an enormous headache. Once you’ve got that date, book your venue, caterer and band first. “They’re always in high demand especially in the busy months,” says Louisa.
Unless you’re a professional wedding planner then how are you supposed to know the ins and outs of planning a wedding?! Alleviate the pressure and be kind to yourself – talk to professionals and ask even the silliest of questions (which we promise, won’t actually be that silly).
Laura Thrower, events executive at Kensington Palace, is getting married this year and has organised her fair share of weddings at this dreamy venue. Her advice is to remember that “venue managers and suppliers are at your disposal, so be sure to ask if anything is unclear or if you don’t like the format being suggested to you. Site visits are the perfect opportunity to understand your guest flow and walk through your wedding day before it happens, so take notes, digest the information and always follow up with your venue manager should you not feel 100% about any aspect of your day.” Louisa also suggests making the most of site visits: “make sure you get a chance to walk through the venue with all the suppliers, it’s important that they collectively understand your vision.”
Start off by working out what matters to you. Are you an avid foodie? Or is being in your dream venue key? Once you have clarified what is most important to you, you can portion off your budget accordingly. “Yes, it would be fabulous to have the ten-tier wedding cake, the designer wedding dress, the Instagram perfect honeymoon, however all of these come with a price tag. Agree on your priorities together at the start of your planning to ensure that you do not compromise on these at a later stage,” suggests Laura.
Tattie Rose is one of the very best florists out there. “Usually after the wedding one of the most talked about elements will be the flowers; they are a chance for the couple to really put their stamp on the day and if you choose the right person to create them, the flowers will have the ability to move people,” says Tattie.
“Let your imagination run wild and look further than what has been done before for ideas. I love to take inspiration from the cover of a book or a piece of vintage fabric rather than always referring to Pinterest or other online sources. Bringing in little details from your life will make the flowers unique and unforgettable.”
While you may dream of a cascade of beautiful florals, Tattie advises that you have to make sure “the scale is correct – it’s the most important thing when planning an installation within a space”.
This applies to everything from styling to flowers, but in particular, the food. It’s not only better for the environment to choose a seasonal menu, but the ingredients just taste better too. We would always recommend a delicate and delicious asparagus-based starter in the summer, while in winter cured fish or for pure indulgence, oysters, are on perfect form. Talk to your caterer (and florist etc) to find out what’s in season. They can even work with suppliers local to your venue to ensure that the food served is as memorable and special as possible.
As Tattie says, and this applies to food too, “certain times of year can’t be mimicked or faked”. “Early summer with its billows of frothy cow parsley, wild dog rose and tall purple foxgloves and autumn with her hedgerow jewels like spindleberry and fiery beech,” seasonality is worth its limitations for the quality.
Tattie Rose’s final piece of advice may be our favourite. “Hold on to each other during the reception, dinner and dancing; go through the day by each other’s side, as you mean to go on.”