I’m excited to be sharing my wedding A-Z for all of you out there who are planning your wedding or have been putting things off but need to get a scoot on. So I can share enough useful information I’ll be spreading this subject over a number of posts over the next few weeks so be sure to keep an eye out for the next edition. Or if you want to get email notifications when the next post is released please sign up to the A&S community here.

These posts will give you loads of hints and tips on various different areas of wedding planning and I’m sharing everything from what to check for in your supplier contracts right the way through to the main things that people forget to budget for.

So all you wonderful couples out there that are excitedly planning your wedding, read on because you will be sure to have some of those ‘ah ha’ moments.

A – ALWAYS BE PREPARED – Planning a wedding can take months and months of research, venue viewings and admin and it can catch you at anytime of day and night. I often used to find myself waking up at 3am after having a lightbulb moment of how I wanted my floristry to turn out or remembering that I had to call the venue concierge to discuss the welcome pack for our guests. Even if you have a wedding planner taking care of your details, inspiration can catch you any moment so my advice is to always be prepared.

When you start your planning journey have a think about how you like to capture things. Do you write things down on paper or prefer an app to manage your to do list? Or perhaps you prefer to use visuals to inspire your thinking?

If you are a pen and paper person write then buy a nice notebook and keep it with you wherever you go. You can keep a small one in your handbag and pop it by your bedside table overnight. They say the best ideas always come when your mind is the most clear and 3am is no exception!

If you prefer to keep things organised on your phone there are a few great apps for managing your wedding to do list. Check out ‘InTime’. The app is great for keeping track of your wedding to do list and if you’ve assigned tasks to your future husband you can easily keep track of progress as you go.

Keeping things visual is a must when planning a wedding. Think about which social media platforms you like the best and stick to them. I’d always recommend setting up a Pinterest page as this is a great way to keep all of your inspiration in one place – even things from other social media sites.

B – BUDGET FOR EVERYTHING – A common mistake for many couples that just start out planning their wedding is that they don’t budget properly. I see it all the time where people have a number in mind and they have itemised the bigger things but have totally missed some of the smaller details. These are usually the things that add up and before you know it your budget is out of the window. You will then usually left with a choice of either increasing your spend or cutting back on some of the things that you really want.

You can still have all of the details without having to have a big budget – it’s just about making sure you have allocated your budget out at the start and have considered everything that has a cost attached to it.

To help get you on your way here’s just a few of the common things couples forget to include when preparing their wedding budget…….

1) Postage for save the dates, invites and thank you cards
2) Feeding suppliers on the wedding day
3) Marriage licences
4) Tipping your suppliers
5) Contingency funds
6) Wedding insurance
7) Thank you gifts

In a nutshell these should get you on your way but look out for my upcoming blog post which will delve a little deeper into the common mistakes couples make when preparing their wedding budget.

C – CONTRACTS – When you are spending so much of your time and money planning one of the most important days of your life you want to make sure that everything goes just as you’ve planned. You definitely don’t want to have any major disasters on the day so ensuring you have contracts in place with all of your suppliers is crucial.

If you’ve hired a wedding planner they should be checking your supplier contracts to ensure everything is covered. If on the other hand you’re planning your own wedding I’ve pulled together a few things that you should look out for before putting pen to paper, and more importantly before handing over any money!

1) Ensure ALL of the services you have agreed are written down. If the contracts aren’t specific enough, then as a minimum write your supplier an email listing the things you’ve discussed and ask them to confirm they agree.

2) If you have to pay the supplier any expenses then ensure the contract states what needs to be covered. You should also ensure that the suppliers will agree with you upfront before they incur any expenses so you can approve the amounts. The last thing you want is any unexpected bills coming your way after the wedding!

3) Ask your suppliers whether they charge any additional fees if things overrun on the day, and if they do find out whether they are charging you a regular or enhanced hourly rate.

4) Ensure the contract states what happens in the event of a supplier being ill on the day or if their equipment breaks down. If a supplier can’t easily and confidently answer this question then you should consider whether you are willing to take the risk by hiring them. After all we all get ill unexpectedly so you should make sure you are comfortable with how this would be managed.

5) Ensure they have details of their insurances available. Public liability and professional indemnity insurance are the main ones you should be looking out for and yours suppliers will be able to provide you with the specific details around what is covered and how much for example.

D – DESTINATION WEDDING – Are you having a destination wedding? I love all types of weddings but I get particularly excited when I get a call from a bride who is getting married abroad. It’s something about the way all the guests are able to relax a bit more and there are no pressures on the bride and groom to get around and say hello to everyone before the day is over.

You are probably really focused on the plans for the day itself but I’d really recommend spending a little time organising a gathering for all of the guests the night before the wedding. Your guests will appreciate getting to know one another and it means you get to welcome everyone personally before the day itself.

Another bit of advice is to take a mini trip to your venue 6-8 weeks before your wedding day (if this is possible of course). It gives you the opportunity to trial the food and hair and makeup and meet your suppliers as well as reminding yourself of the layout, lighting and decor so you can really visualise how your day is going to be.

I hope you found the first post useful – next week I will be talking about flowers and gift lists as well as dropping in some other helpful planning tips. I look forward to seeing you back here next week!

Alana xx