Wedmin brides always leave to the last minute

No matter how ultra-prepared you may have been for the year or so until now you’ve been planning your wedding (you’re the queen of spreadsheets and everyone knows it), in our experience there are always just a handful of tasks brides and grooms are always leaving until the last minute. Avoid eleventh-hour stress by tackling this wedmin checklist at least a few weeks before, so you can enjoy your final exciting weeks!

Cue it Up

This is the time to really go through your timeline with a fine tooth comb and make sure you have every key timing covered and that everyone knows what their signals will be. From asking one of your bridesmaids to text the venue manager when you are pulling up in the car, to knowing what the cues will be for speeches and who is introducing who, asking someone to coordinate the confetti moment, and more. People will always need a bit of shepherding, so make sure you delegate to the right people to make sure everything runs smoothly and without awkward silences where no one knows what they are meant to be doing next!

Get the Digits

Now this is something that we usually handle on a couple’s behalf, but if you don’t have a planner or a super-organised, Monica Gellar-Bing-esque maid of honour to delegate to on the day, make sure everyone has all the important numbers for on the day. That includes all your suppliers having contact numbers for the venue, the venue having contact numbers for one of your bridesmaids (see aforementioned ‘signal system’!), and your bridal party all having each other’s numbers.

Don’t forget to keep a note of your transport companies too, a number for the drivers you have booked to get you and your bridal party from your prep location to the ceremony. Plus a local cab company number - just in case!

Numbers Game

Don’t forget to update your caterer with the final headcount - inevitably people change their plans last minute, and you end up adding new guests on (cousin Pete can make it after all, brilliant), taking some guests off (a uni pals ill-timed skiing injury, well done Katy) and new allergies/intolerances suddenly crop up. Make sure you give your caterer the final numbers and seating chart at least a few weeks before as not only will they need to order the right amounts, but it will also affect your final bill.

On the Day Stationery

We’d hope by the two week mark you’d have sorted out the majority of your on-the-day stationery like table numbers, place cards and a table plan (though we’ve learned never to assume anything) but little things like guest books, pens, menus, orders of service - some of these bits get forgotten until the last minute.

It’s also a good idea to bring a copy of your wedding invitations for your photographer to shoot it. You spent a lot of time, energy and budget on those invites, it’s nice to get a few professional shots of it along with everything else!

Getting Your Shots In

Make a list of must-have shots to give to your photographer - that includes groups you want photographed, details you want captured, key moments you have lined up. If you have a surprise musical performance planned or an outfit change mid-evening - let your photographer know otherwise she might miss it!

Always make sure you let your photographer and videographer know about any possible awkward family situations - any divorced parents, new partners, siblings who aren’t speaking, etc. We’ve heard many a horror story about parents who have kicked off because the photographer asked them to pose with an ex, and put a damper on the whole afternoon!

Musical Numbers

One thing that couples always forget to do is have a few playlists lined up for background music. Whether it’s for the time pre-ceremony as guests file in and take their seats, during dinner or in between band sets, have a few playlists up your sleeve and ensure you have designated someone to be in charge of cuing it up.

Honeymoon Planning

Oh yeah, that holiday you’ve got planned as a reward for all your hard work getting married! You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget about prep for your honeymoon as you enter the final weeks of wedding prep. Start packing a bag, order your currency and buy your travel insurance!

A Little Thank You

Some couples choose to buy gifts for parents and bridal party members to hand out during the speeches or on the morning of the wedding. Make sure you order anything in good time, especially if you want to ask your florist to add on a few bouquets for mums. Oh darling you shouldn’t have!

The Aftermath

Even if you’ve registered for gifts, rest assured there will always be a few rebel guests who wrap something up as a little surprise to leave on the gift table (spoiler alert, it’s usually champagne or a photo frame). Ask your venue ahead of time whether there is anywhere you can leave important items overnight, or until the Monday. If not, ask a friend or family member to take things with them at the end of the night.

Don’t forget about any decor you have at the location too - don’t assume your venue will keep everything just in case, let them know what they can throw away and what you’ll be coming back for later.

Most importantly, if you’re getting legally wed on the day, don’t lose that marriage certificate! You would be shocked at how many couples come thisclose to the it ending up in a bin bag at the end of the night along with paper rubbish because they didn’t ask someone to look after it. Nightmare!

Photo credits: Christopher Ian Photography, Maryanne Weddings and Ben Moore Wedding Photography

 

Perfecting Your Wedding Table Plan

Ah, the emotional game of Tetris that is the wedding table plan. No one's family and friend groups are so perfect that they work in neat little groups of 10 - there's just no way.

So if you are facing a fun little game of 'who can't sit next to who', we have a few handy tips to make the game a little easier to play!

Doodlelove, Not on the High Street

Doodlelove, Not on the High Street

1. Start Early

You can't leave this job to the last minute, as much as you want to put it off. As soon as you have most of your RSVPs, or even before then, start mapping out your tables.

Be aware that things will change so you need to give yourself ample time to make adjustments. And also give yourself a few days in between each change to scream and throw things. Then go back to it.

Your suppliers - like your caterer and your stationer - will need to know final seating a good few weeks before the day.

2. Map it out

Go low tech for your first few goes - use pencil and paper, or sticky notes, before graduating to anything more permanent, and definitely don't go to print until you really have to.

3. To Group or not to Group

Lots of people will make sense to group together - uni friends, distant family, colleagues - but there will always be stragglers. Resist the urge to put all the odd people on one table unless you have to, instead try to fit a few people in with current groups that you think might get along. Your neighbour couple might have the perfect sense of humour for work friends, your cousin and his wife you've never met have a lot in common with some of your friends from school - you get the picture.

4. Modern Families

Whether it's divorced parents or people who have had a falling out - you have two options. One is to figure out a seating plan that means those people won't have each other in their line of sight during dinner and are as far away from each other as possible, OR tell everyone to suck it up for one day and play nice as a gift to you (they also still have to give you a gift though...).

Be amenable and considerate to an extent, but if you find yourself bending over backwards for a handful of particularly difficult people, lay down the law and issue an ultimatum - sit where we put you or eat outside...

5. Kids

If you are having kids at your dinner, depending on the ages you might decide to put them all together - give them their own kid's menu and some table games.

If they are at the table, remember to ask the parents if you need to get them a highchair from the caterer.

6. Elbow Room

J. Scott Catering

J. Scott Catering

Be aware of table sizes when you are planning your seating. A 6ft round table can comfortably seat 10, and 12 at a push. A rectangle trestle table will seat 3 each side, and one on ends.

Make sure you're giving people elbow room!

7. Get Creative

If your venue allows, and round table sizes just aren't working for your groups - mix it up. Have some round tables of 10, a big square table made up of trestles to seat 16, long rows of as many as you like - whatever works in your venue, don't be afraid to experiment or have all the tables the same shape and size.

8. Numbers Vs Names

Ah the eternal debate, give your wedding tables names or numbers. Sure, numbers are easier and more logical but they can also indicate hierarchy (table 15 may assume you're not thinking too highly of them). Names require a bit more thought and creativity, but they eliminate any question of importance.

Paula Bartosiewicz Photography

Paula Bartosiewicz Photography

9.  About Face

Once you have figured out who is sitting on which table, then it's time to consider where on the table each person should sit. You may not think it matters, but consider who is on the table - if you have any older guests or those with disabilities, make sure they are facing the head table. When it comes to speeches and generally just looking adoringly at you, you won't want them to be straining or cricking their neck for long periods of time. 

10. Head Table Dilemmas

The head table can be one of the trickiest parts of table plan planning. Especially if you have a complicated set up - parents who aren't together, are with other partners, or a big horde of siblings or bridesmaids. How do you know who to include and who not to?

Depending on your venue, your head table can be as big or as small as you want. A super long, double sided table works for big bridal parties. Or to be diplomatic, sit just with your parents, your best man and your maid of honour. Some couples even opt for a sweetheart table with just the two of them!

But perhaps sitting with the traditional parents/best man/maid of honour trifecta doesn't work for you. As with many modern traditions, it was born out of a different time and for different reasons. Now, why not just to sit on a table your closest friends? It's your wedding!

 

Fun Evening Food Ideas for your Wedding

You know that point during a wedding reception where the dance floor is sufficiently torn up, drinks continue to flow and you just need a little something to keep that energy up to make it all night. This my friends, is the drunken munchies.

When it comes to designing your late-night snack menu for your wedding guests, the world is your oyster (don't go for oysters). Whether you've had a food truck or a five-course sit down reception, the late-night menu is where you can really go to town. Here are some of our favourites from the menu that we know will hit the right spot!

'dogs and all the toppings

wedding planner london

Credit: Studio 29

Burgers and Shakes

wedding planner london

Credit: Tracey Buyce Photography

S'mores Bar

wedding planner london

Espresso shots and mini donuts

wedding planner london

Credit: Tracey Buyce Photography

Coke and Pretzels

wedding planner london

9 Things Your Wedding Planner is Actually For

It's not all spreadsheets and hairspray, here's a handful of things you may not have realised you were getting when you hired a wedding planner like us!

1. BEING THE BUFFER

Sometimes you need a friendly third party to tell your parents you don't want those
hideous brocade napkins or to let those back up caterers down gently.

 
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2. NEGOTIATION TACTICS
 

The wedding planning kind aren't afraid to haggle to get you a good deal. We have our ways.

 
 

3. CALMING YOU DOWN
 

In those last weeks when you just need someone to vent to and assure you it will all be totally amazing.

 
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4. TAKING THE HEAT

When your grandmother doesn't like where you decided to sit them, we'll just smile, nod and apologise.

 
 

5. HERDING THE BRIDAL PARTY

Making sure the drink best man keeps to schedule and keeping your mum in tissues.

6. KEEPING YOU FED AND WATERED

The minute you've got a fork-full of fondant potato near your mouth, someone will want to say hello,
goodbye or want to drag you into a photo. We'll make sure you get what you need!

7. FIXING THE MINI-DISASTERS

Lipstick on the dress? A broken buttonhole? We got you covered. We have a kit.

 
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8. BEING IN CHARGE OF PLANS A THROUGH D

Planners live in the 'just in case' so you don't have to worry your be-veiled head about anything.

 
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9. INSPIRING AND ENCOURAGING YOU

For when you just need good ideas, we keep a good stock up our sleeves!
And when you just need someone to tell you it's going to be ok, we're a phone call away.

 
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10 Tips for Sticking to Your Wedding Budget

Budget, the dreaded word! But every wedding needs one. How else are you going to know if you can afford Bruno Mars to sing your first dance song (you probably can’t) or Dave Benson Phillips (remember him) as your DJ (you probably can). So before those eternal questions are answered you need to set your budget.

Setting a budget is difficult because all weddings are different, but you do need to have some idea of how much you should spend on each supplier so you don’t end up with debt you’re paying off until your 25th wedding anniversary! There are example wedding budget breakdowns out there but sometimes they don’t really line up with real life and can underestimate the cost of quality supplier so do take them with a pinch of salt.

Image: Weddings by Zoe

We’ve got some handy hints below to help you set your budget and manage it along the way.

1.      How much do you have and how much are you willing to spend? That total amount is what you’re trying to stay under. However, always allow an additional 5% on top as your contingency should you go over budget e.g. with a £25,000 budget keep a separate £250 that you can dip into if you need it.

2.       How many people do you actually want there? This number is one of the biggest factors as it will influence your venue and catering costs. £25,000 can stretch a lot further with 60 guests than 150 so don’t go overboard on the invites if you want to use your budget wisely.

3.       Once you know your total budget and number of guests you can start researching venues to get an idea of the likely cost of the venue. Do your research first so you know if it is a fair price for the location, size and style you want.

4.       The venue and catering are normally the biggest chunk of your budget and could take up to half of your total budget which sounds a lot but is totally normal. Try to avoid going over two thirds of your budget though as you’ll be left with very little to pay for everything else.

5.       By the time you’ve booked your venue and catering you often find yourself in a  ‘what’s left?’ scenario, so now’s the time to earmark any specific priorities you have e.g. if music is the most important thing then ringfence a decent portion of your budget so you know you’ve got enough and pick slightly cheaper suppliers for other parts of the day.

6.       As always, do your research on each industry to check that what you’re being charged is the norm. It will still vary depending on supplier quality, ability and location but always try to get three quotes from similar suppliers. This ensures you know the price is fair and may also give you some leverage to negotiate. Try to research and get estimates for some key elements (photographer, videographer, florist, wedding dress and bridesmaids) before you book anyone so you know either you can afford everything or pinpoint the areas that are lower priority where you need to make savings.

7.       Don’t forget styling. It doesn’t appear out of thin air and can really make your wedding stand out so it’s worth holding some of your budget back for this.

8.       Try not to worry about money. If you can’t afford something think about how much you really want it and whether you can compromise elsewhere. If you can’t, is it really worth breaking the budget for? Would it really affect your day if you didn’t have it?

9.       Keep a log of everything you’ve paid for and what you still need to pay and try to have a separate wedding bank account so it doesn’t get mixed up with the money you spend on a daily basis. Keeping your budget logged and separate makes it much easier to track.

10.   Pay everyone before you jet off on your honeymoon, not only have all the suppliers worked hard to give you a great day but you also don’t want to come back to an inbox full of wedmin!

Our Gift List Picks for 2017

Yayyyy presents! Erm, we mean...that bonus thing that happens when your guests want to generously give you a gift to commemorate your marriage.

Choosing what to put on your gift list is a fun decision, and a lot of it comes down to whether or not you have already set up home together. If you've been living together for years, odds are you have everything you need - so this is an opportunity to get things you want. If you are new to the living situation, you'll be looking for essentials that will last you a long time, and look good.

We really love the gift list service Prezola, for its huge variety and options to add in cash, charity and honeymoon gifts, so we took a look through their catalogue to pick out our faves.

The JimbobArt range of illustrated plates are our actual faves - animals in ridiculous get-ups AND somewhere to rest your sandwich/biscuits/more biscuits.

Plus, for all those lazy weekends in bed just you and your coffees, this gorg so-on-trend coffee pot from Barista & Co

We're loving this Karlsson marble geometric wall clock for your new marital home. Not that you'll be watching the clock at all in your first few months of staring lovingly into each other's eyes...

We're so super into banners right now, hang this one from Old English Company over your bed to remind you to bear hug often. 

These gorgeous sheets from Bluebellgray will turn your bed into a work of art, bright pops of colour to wake you up better than coffee.

We're also loving this pretty pretty soap dispenser from Cosy Living. So no one will tell if you fill it with Sainsbury's own. 

What are you planning to add to your gift list? A mix of weird and wonderful, want and need?

Controlling Your Inner-Bridezilla - Stress-Free Planning Tips

Wedding planning might seem like fun when you’re tasting cakes but  most  people find it stressful and overwhelming. It can be a hard slog if you’ve never put together an event before, and why would you if you don’t work in the events industry. If you want to be more of a Bridechilla than a Bridezilla we’ve got four handy tips that will see you through the planning process.

1.       Break up your jobs into manageable chunks. Most couples allow at least a year for planning and yes, your to do list may look long, but if you break it up into the jobs you need to do per month you’ll find the whole thing a little easier to manage.

2.       Set out your priorities. Work out what’s important to you and make that your priority. I know it might seem like everything has an equal weight but it’s your wedding so you get to choose what to focus on.

3.       Do your research. Spend some time looking into suppliers and styles you like to narrow down what you want before you start the booking process. This will help give you a clear vision and avoid the stress of wondering if everything works together later down the line.

4.       Be realistic. Unfortunately planning a wedding is a lesson in compromise, a good way to start a marriage some might say. The compromise that normally takes place is between the vision in your head and the money in your purse. Be practical, think about what you and your guests actually need on the day and then decide on the things that are nice to have. You may think your wedding won’t be the same without them but your guests are more likely to remember going hungry over a perfectly decorated room.

5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Venue

Nailing your wedding venue is perhaps one of the trickiest and most time consuming jobs of the whole planning process so while you're looking round trying to find something that fits your personal specifications, don't forget to also consider the list below, it could save you time and money and ensure that your dream wedding vision stays intact. 

1. How much dressing does the venue need?

Dressing a venue is one of the most fun parts of planning a wedding, its an opportunity for you to put your own stamp on your day and create something amazing. But don't be fooled, those beautifully adorned ceremonies and receptions on Pinterest didn't dress themselves and they didn't come cheap. Even if you DIY a lot of stuff the materials are going to come at a price. Do think about how much dressing a venue needs before you book it and put an allowance in your budget for those items or for a wedding stylist to source and style it for you. Shameless plug, we style as well as plan!

2. Does your venue have preferred suppliers?

The venue is likely to be pretty upfront about this and let you know if they have a list of suppliers that you have to use. In most cases this tends to be caterers and sometimes florists and production companies for lighting and sound. Generally suppliers are on these lists because they're good and they've worked at the venue so they know it well, but if you've got your heart set on someone or something specific that isn't on the list the chances are you'll have to pay a fee to get them in and you'll need to factor that into your budget. 

3. What do the chairs look like?

Yes I know this might sound a bit crazy and its probably not your first priority to think about chairs but trust us it makes a difference. You don't have to use the venue's chairs and you don't have to use chair covers. There are loads of great hire companies that offer a wide variety of different chairs that can really make or break the style you're trying to create.

If changing all the chairs is too pricy have a look at swapping out the seat pads. Here's an insider tip, most seat pads are stuck to the chair with velcro so they're easily removable. If you've got a venue with red seat pads that clashes horribly with your carefully thought out colour palette then swap them out for something more neutral like ivory. Obviously check with the venue first, but its a quick job for their staff and they're likely to have somewhere to store both seat pads and unused chairs.

4. Can you have a naked flame?

A lot of the historic buildings don't allow a naked flame, so if your mood board is covered in romantic pictures of candlelit ceremonies and dining you may want to rethink your style or venue. You can of course get battery operated candles which is one way round it if you're in love with the venue and still want to keep the candles.

5. How hot does the room get? Followed by, Can we open windows? And do you have fans?

We know the British summer doesn't have a great reputation but it does have its moments and even when it doesn't if you've got 80+ people in a room all eating, drinking and chatting, it's going to get warm. Be prepared for this and plan accordingly. Check that windows do open and perhaps don't seat people prone to the cold near them so you can have them open throughout. Find out if there are fans available as an additional precaution. They may be too noisy for speeches but they'll keep the air circulating during dinner and in any chill out areas you might have. It might not be something you'd usually have on your venue tick list but its worth considering that weddings can get warm and you might want to have a plan in place.

How to Find Your Wedding Style

In the age of Pinterest and Instagram, brides and grooms have more options than ever when it comes to wedding day ideas. Visually accosted on the regular with amazing wedding style ideas, new colour palettes and trends. It can be very easy to lose yourself in all the options. We've lost count of the number of brides who come to us and say 'Please help, my Pinterest board is a mess of 1000 different style ideas, I'm going mad from all the choice.'

So how can you wade through all the tulle and the saved pins and find your true wedding day style? How do you find that all important design that makes your wedding day yours?

Where you at?

Have you booked your dream venue already? If not, what kind of places call out to you? Where have you pictured getting married for, like, ever? Barn, ballroom, greenhouse or garden - it doesn't always have to define the design of your day but it can help with setting the tone. Play with a design that either contrasts or complements your venue, but that doesn't clash. 

If you're opting for a country manor and a marquee, you could make it a winner with an English country garden design of teacups and pastel florals to complement, or go for an all out contrast with a Moroccan inspired tent with rich colours and fabrics. Perhaps your formal London venue has an neon, geometrical twist to contrast, or a vintage glam design to complement.

We contrasted an opulent London listed building with bright neons and wild arrangements at a recent shoot, to inspire couples that they don't have to be dictated by the venue when it comes to design. --->

Casual or Formal?

Your design choices can be narrowed down when you think about whether you imagined your wedding day formal or casual. What kind of atmosphere speaks best to you both as a couple? Are you the kind of couple who likes to host dinner parties and get dressed up for an all night party, or are you the kind of couple who prefer a beach BBQ and chilling out with friends?

Whichever option you go for, that level of formality will carry through all the aspects of your wedding, from the invitation to the place settings.

Think Seasonal

The time of year you're getting married in can have a big impact on your wedding design, with flowers in particular. Before you get too wedded to a specific bloom and style, think about what will be available in your wedding month. Winter weddings and deep plum peonies might look like a match in heaven but peonies are notoriously hard (and expensive) to find outside of Spring. Consider also choosing hardier flowers for an outdoor summer wedding, like daisies and roses, instead of flowers like tulips and hydrangea which will wilt at the first sign of heat.

Look outside the wedding world

The most original, awesome wedding designs come about when couples look outside of the wedding world for inspiration and focus on their shared passions, interests and favourites. Take inspiration from your favourite film, or the city you fell in love in, your first holiday, a shared hobby or a combination of two of your hobbies. 

Colour and Motif

Colours are the bedrock of wedding design. It's the easiest way to thread all the elements of your wedding together. At its most basic, you could choose a main colour, an accent colour and a few complementary shades. Have a few or many but never stick to just one colour! Add neutral or metallic accents to make your palette look dynamic and thoughtful. Seasonal colour families can look really stunning too and mean you don't have to go to matchy-matchy - a Spring wedding could look gorgeous with colours side-by-side on the colour wheel like navy, violet and green. Or an Autumn celebration of burgundy and deep red. 

A motif is another design element that can pull your whole look together. Whether its a monogram, a pattern or a shape that means something to you, it can show up anywhere from the cake to the dancefloor to the invitations and the menus. But don't go mad with this kind of design choice, it's easy to slap it everywhere and it loses it's impact. Choose 3-4 key places to show it off.

Don't copy, be inspired

More often than not, couples use Pinterest as their blueprint for their wedding suppliers. If you find the perfect bouquet or table set up, you can hand it to your supplier and say 'copy this'. It's fantastic if you have found the exact thing you wanted in a picture you can use as your guideline, but consider using it as that - a guideline. Take inspiration from other people's weddings but put your own twist on it and make it yours. Let your suppliers - whose expertise you have paid a fair amount of English pounds for - dazzle you with their experience and talent by taking your Pinterest images and adding a few special touches to make it an original and not a copy. 

Don't limit yourself

Even when all these questions have been answered and you've now got a better idea of what you want, don't feel like you have to pick one style. Your wedding can be a mish-mash fusion of a few of your favourite things. Because why not? If you like 'glam' you don't have to just stop there - is it old Hollywood glam or modern luxury glam? 

Love vintage but also want to incorporate tech? Do it! Want a techno band but kind of really like the idea of a Speakeasy after party? Go for it. Your wedding day isn't a prescribed format or design, and your venue doesn't have to define the style of the day. To truly be your wedding, it must be reflective of you - the things you like as a couple and who you are as a team. The key to going down this route is to find a thread that pulls it all together and helps your event look and feel seamless, but still individual.

How to Choose Your Wedding Readings

Here at Revelry Towers we're big fans of doing things your way. Which means no rules when it comes to picking wedding readings - that's if you even want them at all.

With wedding readings anything goes so its best to start by narrowing down your style. It's common sense really, but if you're having a traditional wedding it will jar if you have a very informal reading during the ceremony and vice versa.

Once you've got your style nailed you need to decide if you want to pick a reading that's personal to you and your other half or just something you like the sound of. If you go for something personal, think about all the books, films, poetry, songs etc... that you both like. Is there anything you can pull from there to make it really individual? If you want to use an existing reading, think about what you want it to say. Are you looking for messages of hope, love, companionship or humour? 

So we've done the hard work for you. Here are some great places to find readings that would suit weddings of all shapes and sizes.

A library of options for poem lovers

A list of modern favourites

Readings for book worms

Young at heart Disney Lovers

Playing it for laughs

Some lovely alternatives you don't hear too often

The Truth about Festival Weddings

September is here, and we are winding down towards the end of another spectacular wedding season. This year has taken us from countryside stately homes, to urban warehouses, to Italian nunneries. And it's also taken us to fields.

Yes fields. Which is why today we're talking about festival weddings! A trend still going strong with so many UK couples. The appeal is obvious - a blank canvas, no restrictions, no pre-existing designs, no rules. Another appeal for many could be cost - there are no prescribed menus or formats so you can keep the costs down, right? Well, right and wrong.

As much as we love festival-style weddings, it is our planner duty to brides and grooms to get real on some of the pitfalls and hidden costs. So here's our brief tour of what to watch out for and what not to forget!

Bare Necessities

When you're visiting spaces to see if they might be the one to host your perfect festival wedding, you'll be expecting a blank canvas. But check whether you will have access to both electricity (some spaces might be handily hooked up with mains, most won't) and access to water (some may have taps installed). If there's no electricity already on site, your first unavoidable expense will be a generator or two. You'll need this for your caterers, lighting, DJ, photo booth, hairdryers, showers, and more. If you're hiring a marquee or tipi, they may be able to provide these.

Catering

Now this is where it really gets fun. You could literally do anything you want! Food stalls, ice-cream carts, burger vans, the world is your oyster (ooh, oyster bar?).

If you decide to forgo the traditional catering and instead go full-on festival with your food and drink, be aware of some of the gaps this might leave you. Having one caterer at your event means all bases are covered - they will provide the staff, the linens, the crockery, the cutlery, the tables, the chairs, whatever you need. But if you opt for a series of vans and carts, you'll need to figure out where all that other stuff is going to come from and make sure you don't forget anything. 

Aside from what everyone is bringing, also consider what everyone is signed up to do. Caterers would normally handle set up and clean up too but if you're going for something different, make sure you have thought about who is in charge of certain areas. Who is going to set the tables? Who is going to pack away the glassware? Who is in charge of cutting up my cake to serve later?

If your event is going to be a series of trucks and stalls instead of a cover-all caterer, hire in agency catering staff to plug the gaps. They will do whatever isn't covered by your food providers and give you a lot of peace of mind.

On another note, if you are having more than a one-day event and you're asking people to camp on site, think about how and when you will be feeding your guests. Is there a way to cook food for breakfast on site or order something in for brunch the next day? Is there somewhere walkable your guests can sort themselves out?

Home Comforts

Whether you're throwing a three day weekend event or just a single day, you're going to need toilets. Luxury event loos are available far and wide - portaloos be gone - and you can stock them with all the goodies you'd expect at home.

Showers might also be necessary if you're asking your guests to camp for one or two nights before and after, and will be extremely gratefully received by all who use it.

We'd advise speaking with a local company or the shower/toilet providers about getting a cleaner in to spruce up the facilities after your pre-game Friday night or the morning after the big day. It's a small expense that is well worth doing for happy guests.

Weather or Not

Ah, the one thing we can't control. Our blessed English weather. The appeal of a festival wedding is of course that a lot of the day's events are held outdoors, with perhaps the exception of a sit-down meal. 

If you are planning an open-air ceremony, you're going to need to consider a Plan B in case of rain (or even serious sun!), and pray you don't have to use it. If the space you have chosen doesn't have a sheltered back up, consider your options. Would you consider decking everyone out with clear umbrellas, should the heavens open? Is there space in the dinner tent for you to move everyone inside for the vows, and would you be happy with that?

A back up tent may be the way forward here. What you can do with most tent and marquee companies is pay a little money to keep something on hold for your date, and then when it comes to the week of the wedding and you're looking at the forecast, you can make a call on whether you pay the rest of the money to put it up, or lose the deposit but can get married al fresco as planned. It's a little investment for a lot of peace of mind on the day.

Communication

As beautiful as our countryside is, the irritating reality of our fields and farms is that often there's not a lot of phone signal. This is just something to bare in mind when you're briefing your suppliers or if you know if guests get lost they aren't going to be able to get through to anyone.

For your staff working on site, old school walkies are the best (and most fun) way of communicating. And we're very much looking forward to using the ones we've just purchased for ourselves...

What are your main concerns about hosting a festival wedding? We'd love to hear your thoughts whether you're embarking on the planning or have just come out the other side - let us know!

And for the fun stuff, check out our Wed Fest inspo board over on Pinterest!

How to Set Your Wedding Budget (from someone who doesn't have a big one)

I am engaged, yep that’s right I’ve finally become a proper grown up. And by organising said wedding I’m also putting into practice what I do for a living, which terrifies me because of the inevitable judgement my wedding will receive.  It’s like those horrendous Apprentice tasks where the project manager works in catering and the project they are tasked with is creating and selling street food but they decide they should charge £10 for a salad and only make about £100 profit. Even Londoners are skeptical of paying that much for some leaves!

But enough about my TV habits, I’m also a bit nervous because we don’t have a massive budget, having bought a flat less than 18 months ago and still furnishing it (there are only two bedrooms but interior decorating feels never ending) we, like a lot of Gen Y or millennials or whatever you want to call us are not flushed with cash.

 

The thing is, when you’re effectively buying dinner for 80 people you want to do to make the day look amazing, sound amazing and be amazing and it’s hard to make the budget stretch. Which brings me nicely to my first piece of advice, which is based on my own experience be flexible. I have moved our budget around a lot as we’ve discussed our priorities and what we can do cheaper without anyone caring or noticing.

Second piece of advice is to think about your priorities. Ours are getting married in a London venue, how the venue looks and food and drink. This means we’ll have to compromise on other areas. Gone are the favours and we’ve said bye bye to the DJ, going for a Spotify playlist instead. 

Thirdly would be to work out what you need to budget for. Chances are you’ve never planned a wedding before and if you don’t have someone helping you then you might not even be sure what to include in the budget. We're staunch advocates of rulebook free weddings so  don’t feel you have to follow any traditions just because it might be expected but the below guideline on what you'll be spending your cash on might help as a starting point.

  • Venue
  • Brides and bridesmaid clothing, shoes, accessories
  • Groom and groomsmen clothing, shoes, accessories
  • Catering (food and drink)
  • Entertainment (anything from DJ’s for dancing to music to walk up the aisle)
  • Rings
  • Stationery
  • Officiant
  • Photography and videography
  • Cake
  • Décor
  • Flowers

Quite a bit to consider right, hence point two – Prioritise!

So bearing the above in mind where do you actually start when you’re working out your budget (assuming you have agreed on a budget)?  Start with the guest list. You don’t need to know exactly who you’re inviting but its worth having a number in mind for all A list invites and what that would go up to if you invited B list as well. That will help you find a venue and understand what that cost is likely to be. You can then put a cap on what you’re willing to spend on a venue which will help you set the rest of your budget based on the priorities which you’ve already agreed. Ta da! Budgeting made easy (kind of).

I am fully expecting our budget will need to increase which is why I have purposely not included 5% contingency in the overall budget so that when we go over (best laid plans and all that) we’ve got that 5% to cover it and I will be smug that I’ve not had to enforce a month of eating beans on toast to cover the additional costs.

Shameless plug - if you do need a hand with setting your budget or getting started then get in touch with us at hello@jointherevelry.com and we can give you a hand.

Good luck!

S x

The Truth About Getting Married Abroad

THE TRUTH ABOUT GETTING MARRIED ABROAD

Lots of couples choose to get married abroad these days and this can be for any number of reasons. Sometimes its a special place that drives you across the pond, it's often cheaper than doing it in the UK, or perhaps you want guaranteed sunshine (remember nothing is guaranteed, my brother got married in Rome in September and it rained ALL DAY!). Whatever the reason, a wedding overseas can be amazing but there are three things we think are worth considering before you make the final decision – legality, cost and planning.

Photo: Cristiano Brizzi of Facibeni Fotografia

LEGALITY

The legal requirements for a wedding are different in every country and vary in time, cost and complexity so you need to thoroughly research the requirements if you want to get legally married abroad. Allow yourself plenty of time to do this and be aware that you might even have to be in the country for a certain number of days before you’re eligible to get married.

An easy way round this is to get married in the UK and have a blessing abroad. Once you take the law out of it you can do the blessing however you want. In fact, your guests need be none the wiser that it isn't a legal ceremony if you follow the conventions of a UK civil or religious wedding service. However, this also gives you the freedom to get married in the way you want to because you have no pesky laws to follow.

COST

Getting married abroad can often be cheaper than getting married in the UK, you’ll find you can get a lot more for your money but do factor in travel and accommodation not just for you but for your guests.

Now we’re firm believers of doing what you want to do on your day but let’s face it, wedding politics exist and not everyone will be happy with your decision (whether they have a right to an opinion or not) but you can avoid ‘weddinggate’ if you spin things the right way from the start. If you’re getting married further afield than a long weekend then you’re eating into your guests holiday allowance and budget. Its worth thinking about making the days around the wedding more affordable by paying for some activities for your guests or perhaps even offering to cover some accommodation costs. People will be grateful that you’ve thought about their needs as well as your own and it will make them more appreciative of their invite. Sure its a slight hit to your wedding budget but the beauty of doing it abroad means you've got more money to play with anyway.

Another option is to keep it small and invite only your nearest and dearest and then have a party with everyone else when you're back on British soil. Doing it this way means no one can guilt trip you for using up their holiday allowance and you get two celebrations!

PLANNING

You know how planning a wedding is up there in the top ten most stressful things you can do in your life, well try planning one abroad. In many cases you don’t know the area, you might not speak the language and what is cheap for locals could come at tourist prices for you. A lot of venues will have a dedicated co-ordinator and wedding packages but if you want something a little more bespoke it is a good idea to hire a wedding planner. Yes, of course we’d say that, but you will cut out so much stress and time of trying to do the legwork yourself. Either look for a UK based planner or one in the area where you're getting married and they'll be able to make the whole planning process run a lot smoother so you avoid last minute hiccups.

Getting married abroad can be a great experience, for everyone. And if you’ve got your heart set on it then go for it, just consider the above first to make sure its the right option for you without being too stressful to plan.

Wedding Planning Advice | Same-Sex Wedding Etiquette

SAME-SEX WEDDING ETIQUETTE: THE BRIDAL PARTY

To celebrate two years of legal same-sex marriage in the UK, over the past few months we've been working with the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, of which we are a proud member, to produce some articles on the new gay wedding etiquette - what are the new traditions we can expect to see in coming years? Here's one we had featured on G Wedding Directory this month - let us know your thoughts!

Our gay wedding etiquette series continues with the big question of the bridal party. Same-sex wedding etiquette is still developing, so it’s an exciting time for couples to lead the way and write the etiquette handbook for couples down the line. So, what does a same-sex bridal party look like?

First of all, the phrase ‘bridal party’ has to be thrown out completely when it comes to men. A phrase that is littered all over the wedding world just does not apply to so many couples getting married now. Find a way to rebrand that works for you and your friends - ‘The I Do Crew’, ‘People of Honour’ or simply just attendants.

The same goes for the individuals - ignore the terms that have gender stereotypes attached to them and create your own. Describe your friends and family in the order of service however you like - your best man and maid of honour become your commanders in chief. Your bridesmaids and groomsmen become attendants. Get creative to find the best description for that person. Maybe a Director of Champagne, Vice President of Speeches or Mistress of Disco? All very important jobs.

For any couple, the jury is out about whether their parents would count as part of the wedding party. For some, it feels right to include them for every element of planning. For others, it's just a case of being part of the procession on the day. Do what feels right based on your relationship but don't be afraid to play it safe and consider parents their own wedding entity.

Typically, wedding party seating would be a long row made up of you in the centre, flanked by your parents and your main wedding party. But if that doesn't work for you there's no reason why you couldn't mix up the seating a little. Have a table just for your wedding party or scatter them amongst the other guests as ice-breakers. Parents can sit with their friends or closer to you. Maybe you get your own sweetheart table just for the two of you, or seat yourselves right in the middle of the action with your friends.

When it comes to choosing the honoured individuals for your party, don’t feel like you have to stick to convention here either. There’s no need to opt for a group of the same gender you are - men don’t have to have an entirely male party, and women don’t have to have females. Best friends are best friends - go with your gut and have a gender blind wedding party.

But with such a carte blanche on your wedding party, it can be tempting to become indecisive and ask a ton of friends to be a part of it. You have to consider what kind of role you want your wedding party to play during planning and on the day - are you just after some cheerleaders to keep you motivated and celebration? Do you need doers who can get stuck into envelope addressing and flower arranging? Set expectations for your team and assess which of your family and friends fit the job descriptions.

Whoever you choose - male or female, two or twenty, one mixed party or two teams - you need to make sure you have a good mix of responsible, loving, enthusiastic and encouraging people for all the highs and lows of planning a wedding!

Wedding Planning Advice | Unofficial Officiants

HAVING FRIENDS AND FAMILY OFFICIATE YOUR WEDDING

We've all got that one friend or family member who you just know would make the perfect officiant at your wedding - that charismatic uncle of yours with impeccable comic timing, or your thespian friend with just the right amount of gravitas.

For many couples, having friends and family perform your wedding ceremony is the ideal way to go. But so many are put off by the confusing legalities of it. Well, today we're going to give you the skinny on it - what you can and can't do and some solutions for those pesky problems.

The main stumbling block is that unless your friend happens to already be a priest, rabbi, imam or humanist celebrant, you won't be able to be legally married. There's a lot out there (we blame the Friends writers) that gives you the impression it's easy to just get ordained online, but it's not like that in the UK where the rules are a lot more rigid than in the US and Oz, where you can literally get married anywhere. It won't be legal and it's just a little dodgy for our liking.

So what's the solution if you want to have your friend or family member perform the ceremony?

The only way around it for many is to have two ceremonies. Lots of couples are put off by this idea, worrying that the drama is lost for that one big moment you get with one ceremony. But you can make it work for you.

If you don't mind doing the legal bit beforehand, a short civil ceremony with a registrar and a few close friends and family is a great way to stretch out the celebrations. In fact, one of our couples this year is opting to have their wedding celebration with their 150 guests in one month, and then have the legal ceremony a whole month later with a totally different style celebration - so much fun!

But if you're keen to just have your one wedding day, be aware of a few different rules.

You can opt to do one ceremony after the other - your legal bit and then your proper ceremony led by your friend - but your legal officiant has to be off site before your friend can start leading the ceremony. Which could make timings a little difficult.

Why not speak to your venue and see if you can plan a small legal ceremony with your officiant and your witnesses earlier in the afternoon before the rest of your guests arrive - either at the same location or elsewhere - and then have your main ceremony several hours later led by your friend or family member. The other guests need never know!

If even the thought of two ceremonies in one day doesn't float your boat - speak to your official officiant about how you can integrate your friends and family into the legal ceremony. Sure, there's the option of having someone read a poem or sing a song, but if you want them to have a larger part in the wedding, speak to the officiant about some other options. They will always be accommodating to your needs - it's your day and you want it to be special for you.

Get creative but always check with your legal officiant to find the best way forward!

Wedding Planning Advice | Budgeting for Photo and Video

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR MY WEDDING PHOTOS AND VIDEO?

Setting out your wedding budget is one of the toughest parts of wedding planning by a long shot.

How are you supposed to know to divide up your well-earned cash the right way? How do you know how much to estimate for each part? This confusion often leads to many couples grossly underestimating how much certain wedding suppliers cost - which is where we come in.

One of the biggest areas of confusion is the cost of wedding photography and videography. Many brides assume this won't cost very much, end up going for budget options and being disappointed with the end result. Wedding photography and videography is a big outlay, but it is an incredibly worthwhile investment. It's important to set aside as much of your budget as you can to make sure you have the best memories of your day. In our opinion, when it comes to splurge vs save, wedding photos and video is in the splurge column.

Photo credit: Xander and Thea

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Brett Harkness

Brett Harkness

Let's start with photos. You could absolutely find a wedding photographer to fit within your budget, whatever it is, but the consideration is that the level of experience and very likely the quality will go down.

It baffles us to see that many wedding magazines and blogs are giving brides advice to spend approximately £750 on wedding photography. In our experience, this is nowhere near enough for good photography. [Disclaimer: We know there are always exceptions - uber-talented newbies, mid-week discounts, etc - but for the majority of cases it is not high enough]

In our experience, spend less than £1000 on wedding photography and you will get the basic coverage, capturing the moments as they happen, no frills, nothing fancy. Single shooter, minimal coverage.

£1500-2000 will get you some fabulous wedding blog-worthy wedding photography. This is the sweet spot, and where we would always recommend couples pitch their budget in this area. All day coverage with more than one shooter for some creative angles. A wonderful, experienced photographer to put you at ease. And more than likely, a free album and possibly an engagement shoot.

Spend £3000+ and you should be getting some pretty incredible photography - high-end, fine art photography with a high quality album, often a longer day for more coverage, and with a few extra 'togs to shoot details and prep. Guaranteed perfection.

So when you're putting your spreadsheets together and dividing it all up, £1500+ is a great starting point where you won't struggle to find incredible shooters, but it's always ALWAYS worth ploughing as much cash as you can afford into wedding photos (without going into debt).

WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY

For under £1000 you'd be getting a pretty basic highlights reel, coverage from bridal prep to the first dance, with a 2-3 minute montage at the end. At this price range you are paying your photographer or videographer below the national minimum wage so it is unlikely the quality will be very good.

Spend £1500 or more and you'll get a treasured, high-quality video - likely a beautifully edited highlights film to music, and an edited video of your ceremony and the speeches. You'll get a second shooter, possibly a third, and some extremely creative, cinematic shots with high-production quality. You are paying for filmmaking experience, quality of equipment and the time it takes to edit such a quality product to perfection.

Adam Rowley from Delirious Films - one of our favourite filmmakers to work with - gives some helpful tips, "Like buying wine in a restaurant – you’d never buy the cheapest and probably almost never buy the most expensive. But no moment should be missed and your film should be magnificent.  But beware budget videography. Something to look out for is if the videographer doesn't call their work a 'film', it could be an indication that they aren't that great."

Whatever your budget for film and photography, take care to establish the experience, and the quality of their work before you book. Don't be afraid to ask for references from past clients and more photos for reassurance. Regardless of the price tag, you want to be confident in your suppliers on your wedding day to give you the best.