Probably the biggest event you will ever organize, but don’t fret, along with your Micklefield Hall wedding managers Abby and Lauren, you will soon tick many things off your list. Here you can find out how to plan a wedding.
Finding your venue
Congratulations on getting engaged! Such an exciting time, and now you have the venue sorted for your special day, let’s have a look at what else needs to be arranged. When we show couples round Micklefield Hall, we regularly ask them ‘what are the most important things you want to have at your wedding?’, and this is a great place to start. Some companies offer a wedding planning apps, such as Bridebook, which can be really helpful and some people even hire a wedding planner, it all depends on how much time you have to organise all the little aspects that make a great day.
But before we get to the fun bits, get your wedding insurance sorted! The recent chaos caused by coronavirus has tested the robustness of all insurance policies, but it is so important to protect all your hard work and planning for the worst-case scenario. Boring bit over, on to the planning….
Booking your ceremony
As soon as you have your venue and your date, book the church or your chosen religious building, or if you want to get married at your venue, check which areas are licensed and find the local registrar. When it comes to timings for the ceremony, chat to your venue’s event manager, they will usually know the best time to tie the knot, making the rest of the day’s activities run smoothly. Check that the registrar can fit in with your schedule. Think about the readings and music you would like in your ceremony and check with your venue if your ceremony space is outdoors, do they have sound amplification so all your guests can hear your vows?
Wedding inspiration and scheduling
Some couples like to use Pinterest (www.pinterest.co.uk) to start collecting ideas, themes, colour schemes, flower arrangements, suppliers etc. but a simple folder or scrapbook is just as effective. Wedding magazines can be a great place for inspiration and that good old Google search can throw up many an exciting option for your big day. Remember to set yourself a schedule so that you know exactly when you need to get a deposit paid or when to get those invitations sent out. Save the date cards and wedding invitations are getting more and more elaborate, resembling mini works of art landing on people’s doorsteps. So, make sure you get them sent out early enough for everyone to get your special date in their diaries, anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months before the big day.
The wedding budget
Obviously budget plays a big part in planning but thorough research and getting some of your family and friends to help with creating the little things can help you achieve your desired wedding look. There is a plethora of funky ideas for those little wedding favors on social media channels and wedding signs and welcome boards are great fun to create at home or in collaboration with your wedding stationary supplier. But be realistic, that budget probably isn’t going to be infinite. Once the venue and catering fees have been accounted for, that could be almost two thirds of your budget eaten up, so think wisely and get several quotes to ensure all the other aspects of your wedding are great value for money. Ask your friends who they used for X, Y and Z at their wedding. Word of mouth recommendations are usually some of the best!
Number of wedding guests
You probably already have an idea of the number of guests you will have at your wedding, as this is an important aspect when finding the right venue, and some venues such as Micklefield Hall allow you to have more guests arrive in the evening for no extra venue fee. So, jot down all those special people in your lives that you want at your ceremony, and then those to join you in the evening for a good old party. You will be surprised at just how many people your friends and family amount to! Remember to factor in a dropout rate though and perhaps have some people on a reserve list. Some people like to have a toast master at their wedding, to ensure that every guest is where they need to be at the right time, and so guests know what is happening next. Toast masters can also help you make a grand entrance when you enter the room once you are married.
It can be really daunting when you find out just how many wedding suppliers there are out there from caterers to florists, toast masters to dance floors but check with your venue as some might already be included in the venue price. Ask your venue for their approved or recommended suppliers list as they can point you to the best suppliers and even better, they have seen the supplier’s in action so you know they can deliver on their promises.
Some venues such as ours, have an exclusive caterer, one whom they have worked with for many years, and have delivered exceptional quality, time and time again. Get in contact with them early to get your wedding date secured and start to talk about ideas and more importantly costings! One of the exclusive caterers at Micklefield Hall is Kalm Kitchen and they have their own event managers who will support you through your wedding planning. They also use technology such as Top Table Planner which allows you to track your guest list and dietary requirements and plan your seating arrangement. This is then used by the caterer to lay your tables and ensure the right guest gets the right meal, an essential for smooth food delivery when you are trying to serve hundreds of guests at once!
Layout and seating plan
Not only have you got to decide where everyone sits, first you need to decide the layout. Now some venues are quite restricted when it comes to table layout due to the venue’s size, shape and your number of guests. So, talk to your venue and ask them what your options are with your numbers. Some venues, like Micklefield Hall, even have drawings and table layout templates to show you an aerial view of how your tables will be arranged. This will help you place your guests and even form your table plan guide for your guests so they can find their seats.
Now to the dress, and the brides maids dresses, and the grooms suit, and the flower girls dresses…The clothing requirements for a wedding can be daunting, so make a list and set an individual budget for each person to ensure the budget doesn’t get out of hand! Remember to leave plenty of time for your special dress, those ones you try on probably won’t actually be the one you wear down the aisle and you will want two or three fittings to ensure the dress made for you fits like a glove! Some brides like to have more than one dress for their big day, as some dresses aren’t great for dancing or eating that beautiful wedding breakfast in! Also, don’t forget all the accessories like shoes, veil, lingerie, ties, jewellery etc.
Hair and makeup
In order to make sure everyone looks totally splendid in their wedding frocks, hair and makeup is another thing for your list. Instagram is a great one for hairdo ideas and why not get creative and add a bit of foliage or jewellery to your hair that ties in with your wedding theme!
On to the cake-factor, once you’ve gathered wedding cake inspiration, have a good chat with your cake maker as sometimes those beautiful cake drawings or ideas require anti-gravity engineering in order to stay standing all day! Same goes to the floral arrangements, make sure you give your chosen florist a clear idea of your wedding theme and your important flowers. Think about the schedule for your special day and where you want the different flower arrangements. Sometimes arrangements can be moved so they can make an appearance during the ceremony and in the evening, making sure those little flowers work hard for their money!
Decorations and wedding extras such as photo booths, candelabras and doughnut walls, are all little things that will help dress the venue and keep your guests entertained throughout your day, perhaps whilst you are off getting those important romantic photos with your new husband or wife! There are some companies that specialise in wedding décor, providing anything from elaborate centre pieces to back drops, fairy light canopies to huge light up letters, and some companies that provide wedding entertainment like magicians, singing waiters, brass bands and much, much more! Again, check with your venue as some have in-house extras that you can add or that are even provided within the venue fee, for example at Micklefield Hall we have a huge flower wall and cake included and a sweety cart as an extra.
We all dream of a dry day for our wedding, but in our green and pleasant country, that isn’t always realistic, so be sure to have a wet weather contingency. This is where your venue’s event planners really come into their own. Ask them what the wet weather plan is so you know if there are any logistical factors to the different spaces you might be getting married in. It’s good to communicate this to your photographer and videographer, so they know which shots they probably want to capture and where they need to be positioned to capture that perfect wedding photo! Most venues allow you to attend with your photographer/videographer before your wedding, to get some practise shots and talk to you about how you want your wedding captured.
Right so the ceremony is sorted and your wedding breakfast is planned, on to the evening. Everyone is in the party mood, they are all so happy to see you guys get married, their bellies are full, now for a good old knees up! Check with your venue’s bar and see what packages they provide. Some packages are pay on consumption whilst others are set at a fixed price or you can go the corkage route, it all depends on your budget, what you think your guests might drink and how much they can possibly consume! If you have a particular spirit or wine or beer you would like, talk to your event planner and see if they can add or buy it in for you.
Music and dancing
Now what about the music? Live band, DJ, singer, guitarist again several options to suit everyone. Try and pop along to see your preferred option performing live before you book and ask them what audio equipment they need. It’s also worth checking with the venue about maximum sound levels and music cut off times. Every venue has to abide by licensing rules, but they can differ, so make sure you check before booking.
And last but not least, your first night together as a married couple. Find that somewhere special to kick off your heels and polished shoes, undo that dress or tie, and relax together after your special day. Some venues have accommodation, others can recommend special places for you to stay locally. It will all go so quickly, those months of planning will suddenly turn into weeks, to days and then suddenly you are at your top table, eating your amazing food and looking out at all your friends and family, wondering how it all happened. So, enjoy the process, don’t get stressed or overwhelmed, and always pick up the phone and ask if you need any help. We are all here to help you create your dream day.
Love from the team at Micklefield Hall