The 12 days of Christmas… wedding planning!

If Santa Baby really did leave a Tiffany ring under the tree for you this year, then no doubt you will be eager to get on and start planning the big day.

As well as £1000 off a wedding package for two lucky couples, we’re delighted to give you 12 of our top tips for planning your dream wedding!

1: The venue

Booking your venue is our number one must-do! Think back to weddings and parties you’ve attended in the past and consider what stood out. As a hotel, we find our wedding parties appreciate having all their friends and family under one roof and love to make the most of the pre and post-wedding celebrations.  A good venue will always offer you a show round and explain how you can make the space your own on your special day.

2: The outfit

Ok, so this is the big one! Whether you are going for a dress, dresses, black tie or tails, there’s a lot of choice out there for all styles and budgets. Our top tip: don’t rush into making a decision.  Take your time to look at different options, using Pinterest, Insta or magazines for inspiration.  Find a designer you like, or a boutique that friends or family have recommended.  For black tie and tails, hiring in can be cost-effective, especially if you’re looking to rent for the entire wedding party.

3: The Guest List

This will be driven by your budget and venue. Many find who to include (or exclude) the hardest part of the planning process. We’ve helped countless couples plan their big day. Our advice? Don’t feel obligated to anyone – friends or family.  It’s your big day and it’s your decision! Before you share your thoughts with family, start with the must-have guests – any friends or family without whom the big day would not be the same.  Decide on numbers –  perhaps allocate fairly to each side – and stick to it! It’s your day – your rules!

4: Catering

Sit down three-course meal? Hot buffet? Street food? Fun, festive or fashionable? Again, the catering will be dictated, to an extent, by budget and venue.  Consider the season or the location.  Getting married by the sea? Have a fish option!; got engaged in Paris?  Why not make a feature of a cheeseboard? Consider your evening guests, who will certainly expect something to eat, plus any dietary requirements. Again, it is your day, so make sure you will both enjoy whatever is on the menu!

5: Cake

Whether it’s a traditional iced fruit cake, luxury sponge or tiers of cheese, a wedding cake is often the centrepiece of a wedding. Popular cakemakers get very booked up, so you should make sure your order is in 3-6 months ahead. Make sure you ask for testimonials – and many will also offer you a chance to sample their bakes!

6: Music and entertainment

Like cake-makers, decent bands and DJs get booked up quickly. If you have a favourite musical taste, find a band that fits the bill, but make sure that they can also play wedding favourites to ensure a full dance floor all evening! Many bands will also act as DJs and play agreed playlists between sets. You can also ask for requests from your guests when you send out invitations!

7: Flowers

Bouquet, flower girls, buttonholes, and centrepieces – there is a lot of floral fun to be had! You may have a favourite bloom, but bear in mind seasonal availability. Summer weddings are blessed with an abundance of choice; winter offers delightful berries and foliage, and, of course, the romance of roses.  Consider your theme and colour scheme; a good florist will offer no end of suggestions to suit all budgets.

8: Hair and make up

Many hairdressers and makeup artists offer the option of attending your bridal party at the venue, which can make the getting ready part of the day a huge amount of fun.  Updos or lowing locks, it’s all a question of choice and what suits; not just the bride, but the dress too.

Don’t forget the chaps in all this! Booking in a hot towel shave the morning of the wedding is a great touch!

9: Decorations and themes

The decoration and theme of your big day should be personal to the happy couple. It needs to reflect your personalities and mean something to you both. Consider locations – holidays you have taken, travels you have made; if you are having a winter wedding, the 12 days of Christmas make a perfect seasonal theme.  Think about how you want to feel, what you want to remember – and how your guests will feel.

10: Photography

Your wedding photography should capture the spirit of the day – but your photographer should also make sure you feel comfortable, and, ideally, blend into the proceedings to capture those off-guard moments.

Like so many aspects, decent wedding photographers get booked up quickly – especially if you are saying ‘I do’ on a popular date such as a Bank Holiday.  Browse their portfolios, ask any and all questions you can think of and make sure you give them direction of the types and make-up of shots you want. Nothing worse than getting your pictures back to find that you have missed Great Aunt from a family group!

11: Favours

Sweets, chocolates, even lottery tickets, favours are a lovely way to acknowledge the presence of your nearest and dearest, some of whom may have travelled to be there, but they are definitely not obligatory.  Choose something that reflects your theme – or your personalities – and go from there.

Some couples also choose to give party bags to younger guests. A small toy, book or (non-messy!) activity set can keep little ones amused – and they will be appreciated by their parents!

12: Wedding lists

Wedding lists are considered by some to be old fashioned, especially if a couple have lived together for some time but guests really do like to buy a gift for the happy couple, and a list with a preferred shop, can make this a lot easier for those attending.  Asking for financial contributions towards a honeymoon or experience is also a popular choice; we will leave it to you to decide how to word the request!

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