Whether you're planning your own wedding or taking on the responsibility for someone else's big day, you will want the event to run smoothly and like clockwork. Reduce the risk of unwanted surprises with these top planning tips to ensure the perfect day is just that.
Think in stages
A top tip from A-list wedding planner Mark Niemierko is to break the day up into stages - the ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast and so on. This makes it much easier to list decoration, flowers, entertainment, food, or whatever may be involved, and reduces the risk of missing anything.
Communicate and confirm
With so many suppliers involved it is absolutely essential that every one is clear on what is requires and when. Keep in contact with everyone from florists to caterers, and supply them with bullet-pointed information for clarity. Most importantly, don't rely on a telephone call - put it in writing and send via email so there's no chance of a mistake.
It's also an idea to create a running order, with estimated times included, and send it to all the suppliers ahead of the wedding itself. Ask suppliers to arrive at the venue well in advance of the time that they are needed, thereby avoiding stressful delays. And don't be afraid to confirm and re-confirm - remember, it's the most important day of the bride's life.
There are a few little things that often get forgotten, but which could make the difference between success and failure. For instance, as early as the day you book the venue, it's essential to consider how long it will take to set everything up and book accordingly. Come the big day, aim to have everything ready at least an hour before guests begin to arrive if possible.
Also consider the needs of suppliers who may be required to stay all day. From the photographer to the florist, don't forget they too will need sustenance so you'll need to factor extra food into your budget.
While it's important to know that the right flowers are in place and there's a vegetarian option on the menu, some of the little details can be entrusted to the supplier themselves. For instance, if the bride has opted for a DJ, and chosen him or her on their floor-filling reputation, then there's no need to spend hours poring over a playlist. A few key tunes, such as the first dance, will suffice. Leave the rest to the professional.
A happy ending
To ensure the guests have a good night, it's helpful to organise getting them to their accommodation if it's not on site. A few taxis on call for when guests begin to leave the reception mean you can run round trips as the do winds down.
Are you a wedding planner? What are your top tips for novices? Leave your comments below...