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The wedding planner checklist

Not sure where to start when it comes to planning your wedding? All it takes is a little know-how from the wedding pros to plan your day to perfection!

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The wedding planner checklist
Wedding planning made easy. Image: Lisa Devlin

Planning your wedding day can seem a little daunting. With style, time and budgets to consider it’s no wonder brides often feel overwhelmed. Luckily our wedding experts are here with their amazing wedding advice to help you plan from start to finish. Get ready to nail your wedding planner checklist!

Where to start?
Organising your wedding is probably your first experience of event planning, and knowing where to start is daunting! Basics such as the type of ceremony and venue you want, how many people you plan to invite, the time of year and your budget, are the first things to decide.
The wedding advice: “You need to sit down with your partner and have that all-important discussion about what kind of day you want,” explains Michelle Kelly, Creative Wedding Planner at Pocketful of Dreams. “Try not to look at venues or suppliers until you know and agree on the key elements, as these will drive all your decisions. Once you know these, it’s on to the venue search, which will then drive your date. Only then should you start looking at suppliers.”

Priorities, priorities
Unless you’re planning to rob a bank, not everything can be exactly as you want it (annoying, we know!), so it’s a good idea to set your top three spending priorities.
The wedding advice: “These are very personal, but great food and drink is always a winner with guests, as is great entertainment,” says Michelle. “Remind yourself of your top three when you’re sweating the small stuff, and make sure you look after the practical before the pretty.”

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Let’s talk money
There’s no point in getting swept away by a vision of your dream day if you don’t have the fantasy budget to match. Work out your wedding budget exactly, how much you can save in the run-up to your wedding, and have conversations with both sets of parents to ask if they’re willing to make a contribution. Once you have your figures in place, it’s time to allocate your funding.
The wedding advice: “Do your research on realistic costs for what you want,” suggests Kelly Chandler, wedding planner and founder of The Bespoke Wedding Company. “Be aware that around 50% of your budget usually goes on venue hire and your food and drinks bill. If these basics are eating into more of your budget early on, you’re likely to run out of funds, so plan accordingly.”

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Take time to create your wedding look. Image: Lisa Devlin

Creating your look
Working out the look and feel of your day is one of the most exciting parts, and it’s the key way to add personality to your wedding.
The wedding advice: “My best advice is to be true to yourself,” says wedding stylist Louise Beukes, founder of louisebeukes.com and luxury wedding blog BLOVED. “We all love trends, but unfortunately they can quickly date if you’re not careful. I always suggest starting by gathering as much inspiration as possible, then sorting it out into different themes or colour palettes. You’ll probably find most of them fit one idea, so discard the rest! Also, think about what represents you and your partner; personalised weddings never go out of style.”

Get organised
Once you start booking venue viewings, meeting with suppliers and starting to pay deposits, it’s vital to stay organised.
The wedding advice: Have a dedicated wedding diary where you list all your supplier consultations and payment dates, and set reminders on your phone so you don’t forget. “You can’t beat an Excel spreadsheet for your wedding budget, either!” adds Kelly. Gotta love a wedding budget spreadsheet.

Building your wedding team
One of the most important things about planning your day is to put together a team of reliable suppliers who understand your vision. Look at Perfect Wedding magazine (yoohoo!) and blogs, and visit local fairs to find suppliers whose style you love.
The wedding advice: “It’s key to choose the right people from the start,” says Michelle. “This takes research about their approach and talents but also meeting with them or chatting to them via Skype or phone to get a feel for their personalities.”
”It’s important to be upfront and tell them your budget,” adds Louise. “Most will be honest and will try to work with you to create the look you are after at any price point. If they really can’t, then most will be happy to suggest someone else who can!”

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Don't forget what's really important. Image: Neil Jackson Photography

Keep it stress-free
With so much to do, it’s not surprising that wedding planning can feel a tad stressful at times – we promise it’s not just you!
The wedding advice: “Don’t forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture,” reminds Michelle. “It can become overwhelming dealing with the minutiae of organising a wedding and it’s easy to feel bogged down. If it is all becoming too much then seriously consider outsourcing. Most wedding planners nowadays will offer a partial service so you can keep the elements of planning you love and pass on the ones you don’t”. Result!

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