Here at MadMax Adventures we regularly welcome hen and stag parties to our activity centre to enjoy archery, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting and more. Brides and grooms love to let their hair down and relax before the big day, and it’s no wonder when you think about how stressful it can be planning a wedding!
Whether you’re newly engaged and just starting out on your wedding planning journey, or you’ve already begun planning your big day but you’re struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, read on for some great help!
We’ve reached out to some of the leading wedding planners in the industry to ask them:
"What’s your number one tip for effective wedding planning?"
And here’s what they had to say...
Liz Susong - Catalyst Wed Co.
"Prioritise what's most important to you, and minimise the time, money, and energy you spend on anything unimportant. Frequently take the time to have intentional conversations around your common identity, your values, and your vision for your marriage, and allow those conversations to inform the wedding itself. A wedding is more than a checklist; it's a celebration of your unique partnership! Oh, and hire a day-of coordinator."
Francesca Cribb - Bijou Wedding Venues
"Communication with each other, your families, your suppliers and most importantly, your wedding venue, is key when it comes to planning your big day. The more you communicate your ideas, wishes and dreams, the more likely you’ll be to experience the ultimate wedding celebration.
Couples who book a Bijou Wedding Venue communicate their entire wedding plan to us via an online wedding planner, unique to us – therefore, we, as a team, know that no stone will be left unturned once the big day arrives."
Tilly Wilkinson - UKbride
"Budget, budget, budget! It’s the number one rule for wedding planning. Set out a budget plan so you’re realistic about your wedding plans, and you’re not full of disappointment when you can’t afford the dress of your dreams.
Use the budget plan, stick to it, and try not to look at anything over that amount. You’ll still have an incredible day with the man of your dreams and won’t be in debt afterwards. To make life easier, you can use UKbride’s free online budget planner."
Stan Mcleod - Headliner
"Booking or choosing live entertainment is often one of the last elements to be considered when you are planning your wedding. My top tip for those getting married would be – do not make this mistake. Underestimating the impact of live entertainment on your big day is often ranked as one of the biggest regrets for couples.
An amazing band, emotive quartet or dance-floor filling DJ can often be the difference between a good wedding and a great one. Make sure that you start thinking about your entertainment early on, go and see the acts and book in advance to avoid disappointment."
Jim Osterfoss - Nagle Warren Mansion B&B
"Set a budget! Get all of the people that are contributing to the wedding together and set a total budget. With the budget in place use an on line tool to allocate to all of the different parts. 5% for dress 10 % for location, 30 % for reception. It is not fixed but starts a good guideline and can be tweaked.
The mistake that we see the most is “My dream wedding is” which leads to over spending and missing pieces. Most vendors if they know the budget and people and quality level, will give good advice on how to achieve the desires or help a couple understand that what they are asking for is not achievable within the budget. Again the vendors will usually offer suggestions that can be done within the budget."
Mara Lagonigro - Blush & Gold
"My #1 tip would be to buy yourself a wedding planner book, with checklists and most importantly suggested questions to ask your suppliers. Wedding planning can be stressful and overwhelming so having a book to keep track of all the stages of the process, will make the planning process incredibly easier and smoother."
Katie Worthington - Marriott Breadsall Priory Hotel and Country Club
"Wedding planning can be stressful for any affianced couple, so it is important to keep an agreed vision of your big day in mind, and take efficient steps to reach it.
Firstly, it is important to set a realistic budget, so you know from the get go what is within your reach. Don’t be afraid to shop around, particularly when it comes to choosing a supplier. Ask to see examples of their work, so you can ensure you are getting great value for money.
Attending wedding fayres in your local area provides a great opportunity to have a variety of options presented to you, which can best help you make decisions about your big day. In some cases, you may also be able to call into your venue, while they are holding a wedding, to help you visualise how your own day could unfold."
Louise Baltruschat Hollis - Whimsical Wonderland Weddings
"My top tip when beginning your wedding planning is to sit down together as a couple and think about the things that make your relationship and your shared loves. Then think about how to incorporate them into your day. Are you gin lovers or pizza fanatics? Perhaps you play a certain sport or love a particular genre of music.
Inject these personal elements and your wedding will be so unique and totally customised to the two of you. Your guests will love it and you'll feel as though your wedding is ALL about the two of YOU."
Sue White - For Better For Worse
"It’s all very well using spreadsheets and fancy planning apps but you will spend more of your time filling them out and figuring out how to use then and retrieve the data you need to action than actioning and getting things done!
We have worked with people planning thousands of weddings over our nearly 20 years in the business and have found a simple checklist to be the easiest and most effective. For those who like to use an app, keep it simple with something like wonderlist."
Francesca - Efffetti Wedding in Tuscany
"My number 1 Tip for wedding planning is to find a wedding planner you trust 100%; someone who can deliver your dream wedding, not based on THEIR vision but on YOURS.
Communicate your hopes and dreams, and avoid any unnecessary interferences that will not make the wedding any better and will solely generate stress. A wedding planner has a wealth of experience that most couples do not have, and their suggestions are always intended to make the day stress free and beautiful!"
Claire Elsley - Bouquet & Bells
"Sit down with your other half and discuss a realistic figure for the total wedding budget. This is the most important step you can take because everything will revolve around this figure (venue, guest list, location etc.). Once you have this figure, create a budget spreadsheet and begin to prioritise your wedding essentials and work out where you would like to splash the most cash."
Ciara Moore - Wedding Dates
"It's Your Day, Do It Your Way! More and more couples are ditching tradition and embracing the alternative, and at WeddingDates HQ, we say go for it!! The majority of brides get super stressed and worry about their family and guests - what will they think? Will they be happy at our chosen wedding venue? Will they like the food? Stop all the worrying and unnecessary time-wasting!
It's your special day, and it should reflect you and your partner. If you want to wear a pink dress, go for it! If you want to have a BBQ buffet instead of a sit-down meal, go for it! You won't be able to please everyone. By choosing what you like and not caring about the opinions of other people, you will enjoy your wedding planning journey much more."
Natalie Lovett - The Whitewed Directory
"Bother with the detail. Your wedding should be like a well-oiled machine, and the devil is in the detail. Overlook updating your suppliers with key details and your day will start to unravel.
Take advice on the day’s official timings, and spend time considering the behind the scenes timings too, e.g. if your florist is providing flowers for your cake, make sure the cake is in situ before the florist leaves...and never assume your suppliers will ‘just know’ – they won’t, so keep them up-to-date and informed! Planning the detail will lead to a perfect wedding!"
Kylie Carlson – UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planning
"Don’t try and be a one woman army. Seriously trying to do everything yourself will drive you mad. Your family will be only too willing to help so make sure you delegate tasks to them and leave yourself with the jobs that are exciting and fun."
"Hire professionals that have a great track record!
If planning a destination wedding we advise:
No need to hire a local planner to bring along to the destination. Rather work with a company like Wedaways that has a network of international planners on the ground with the best vendors and you won't have to hire someone from home to bring along who will have to hire a local (with all the connections) to produce the event!"
Michelle Yuan - Asia Wedding Network
"The best tip we can give is to fall in love with your vendors when you are choosing them. Fall in love with their portfolio, past work, personality, etc. There are tons of wedding suppliers in the industry so really take your time to find the right one that matches your taste, style, budget, and requirements!"
Katherine Hudson - Arabian Tent Company
"I often find that brides and grooms worry that they are forgetting something on the big day. However this is often quite the opposite: they have thought of everything! My number one tip? Always write a wedding checklist to make sure everything is ticked off and in plenty of time."
Linzi Barford - That Black & White Cat
"My number 1 tip for effective wedding planning is choosing the right wedding suppliers. You need to build a relationship with suppliers such as your wedding planner, photographer and videographer - you need to like them as they'll become your best friend throughout the process.
Always vet your suppliers - you need the very best for your wedding day so check recommendations, review their portfolio, check they have insurance and always, always get a contract in place. And always research market prices to make sure you aren't paying more than needed."
Michelle Cookson - The Nuptial
"Sit down with your partner and make a list of what memories you want of your day, that way you will know where to spend the majority of your budget. Although they are important, a wedding is more than a ring, a dress and a venue.
Also, don’t compare yourself to others. Blogs like ours will give you loads of inspiration, but use that information to create YOUR dream wedding and if that means, moving away from tradition and doing things your way, then so be it."