For this blog, I have the pleasure of welcoming Charlotte Duggan from CED Events. Charlotte is a freelance event planner with over 7 years of professional experience. In this blog, Charlotte shares her Top 10 key checklists so that you can avoid any disasters on your wedding day. Over to you Charlotte.
Hi, I’m Charlotte
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and a day you will treasure forever. Preparation and organisation are key elements in avoiding some unpredictable elements that could potentially go wrong. So, to help you troubleshoot before the big day, I have put together 10 key checklists of ‘Dos and Donts’ so you can hopefully avoid and/or resolve them quickly and easily.
Remember, this will be one of the best days of your life and the planning should be exciting and fun! Enjoy it!!
1: Wedding Day Cheat Sheet
Your wedding day will usually involve many different suppliers from Hair and Make-up, through to catering and entertainment. The planning should be done with care and precision to enable you to relax on your big day and enjoy all you have planned. So, create a ‘Cheat Sheet’ which you can handover to your bridal party and groomsmen on the morning of. Adding both the agreed timings of each supplier set up as well as contact details will do wonders in ensuring no one has been missed and everyone knows where they should be and at what time. You can also add the rough day timetable for reference. It can also be shared with the wider parties (please do ensure you have permission to share details like mobile numbers prior)
2: Weather Back up
Whether you are getting married in the UK or abroad, the weather can ALWAYS be unpredictable. Do not be fooled by ‘Well the last 3 months have been beautiful’ or ‘we never get rain during this month!’ Be prepared. Whether it is an outside affair you are having or a drinks reception in a certain part of the venue, ensure you have back up!
For the rain: Another option in the venue which is covered, that can cater for your numbers and most importantly that you love as much as your first option (you do not want to look back at your big day wishing you had chosen another venue as their plan ‘B’ was S***).
Top Tip: See-through umbrellas are a great addition to ensure you can have photos outside come rain or shine.
For the sunshine: Paper Heart-shaped fans are a lovely gesture on each chair to help cool guests. Also putting a ‘beauty basket’ in both the male and female restrooms containing items such as sun cream, deodorant and antihistamine tablets will ensure no sunburn or uncomfortable guests.
3: Wedding Dress Preparation
Now…this is a HUGE talking point for most brides! It is the one day you want to feel 100 Million dollars. Dress prep is essential. I have jotted down a couple of key points.
- DO NOT take photos of your dress during fittings – not only will the dress not sit right but it will make you start looking at it in a ‘critical’ way. Fittings are there to ensure it will fit perfectly for the big day. Remember how it made you feel and why you chose it.
- Ensure your final fitting is less than 2 weeks prior to your big day. If it is any earlier you risk it not fitting perfectly. The wedding day nerves get more as the day gets closer which can lead to last-minute weight loss.
- Pick up the dress at the 11th hour – keeping it at home has many risks. Friends come over and want to see if (and after a few drinks that may seem like a great idea) and it gets stained – don’t! It is not worth the stress and potentially ruining your day!
- Unpacking the dress – once you arrive at your venue, unpack the dress to allow any creases to fall out. Also ensure it is safe and away from anything that could tear it, stain it or do ANYTHING to it.
Top Tip: When opening your dress bag, put one finger behind the zipper as you open the bag (this will ensure your veil or dress is not caught in the zip and eliminate any last-minute snags!)
4: Bride and Groom Packing
As the day gets closer, you will have EVERYTHING spinning around your head. A few weeks out start writing your lists of what you need to pack (for both the wedding day as well as the day after and the day before if applicable) – small things can easily get missed and it isn’t always easy to find replacements on the big day (like earrings, hair accessories, underwear that works with the dress.…)
5: Skin Preparation – Does and Dont’s
1 month prior to your wedding, stop experimenting with skincare products. Avoid that last-minute facial from a salon close to your venue that you have never been to before or that face pack you have never tried which you are saving for a special occasion – it will be too late to rectify an allergic reaction should you have one. Stick to your usual wipes and face cream and ensure you have had a makeup trial so you know your skin will not react to the products the make-up artist uses.
6: Florist Heartbreak
Flowers can be a very big part of your day as they really do tie in themes. However, what you have in your head and on your Pinterest boards versus what your florist thinks you want can be two different ideas. When you decide on a florist, check their work and really go into the flowers you would like. Don’t be scared to ask for each flower they are thinking of using – they would much rather know they are living up to your expectations than have a crying bride when she sees her bouquet for the first time. And if you find your perfect bouquet, ask them to copy it – nothing wrong with Pinterest Inspo (just make sure they are flowers which are in season!)
7: Hidden Supplier Charges
At the early stages of planning a wedding, it is not unusual to decide which supplier you would like for your big day. However, once you have decided on a venue, check with them to see if they have a ‘Preferred Supplier List’ and if they allow external suppliers in. Some venues are very strict and you can only work with people from their PSL. If this is the case, there is usually a commission you have to pay to the venue for each supplier outside of the PSL which can add up pretty quickly. And as we all know, weddings are not the cheapest and you do not want a final bill after your wedding day has finished…..
8: Popping Bubbles, Blowing Budgets
Open bars or set bar tabs are a great way to get your wedding party started. However, they can take a huge chunk out of your wedding budget. If you do opt for an open bar, ensure you discuss with the venue/supplier the limit for the day, any restrictions (ie no doubles/bottles of wine/shots can be added to the tab) and give them a person who is in charge (someone other than yourselves) so you can relax and enjoy that bar tab you are paying for. If you are working to a tighter budget, giving all your guests a drink token during the wedding reception can be a lovely gesture (you can get personalised tokens that hang around a wine glass with cute poems on as an example).
9: Cancellation Policies
2020 has been a huge reminder that cancellation policies and cover are important regardless of the time of year you are planning your marriage. With all suppliers and venues you are contracting, ensure you have an agreed set of terms and conditions which cover all bases, you are happy with and are legally binding. Corvid-19 is a harsh reminder that pandemics can happen and cancellations can arise out of our hands. Ensure they have fair and transparent terms. If they don’t, it may be worth looking elsewhere (or google reviews of how they dealt with Corvid-19 for other couples….you may be quite surprised, good or bad, but it may save you thousands in the long run). Insurance is also a great option too but be careful and read all the terms as some seem great but cover you for hardly anything (even if the venue was to burn down!)
Cancellation policies are a very ‘admin heavy’ aspect of wedding planning. If do you have an event manager or events company managing your wedding, this is something they would manage and deal with (a great relief for all couples and something that is definitely worth the investment)
10: Camera Shy?
Now, I think couples either love or hate being in front of the camera. If you are like me and hate staged photos, this can be a real stress on the lead up to your wedding day and quite a burden when actually it should be the least of your issues. There are many ways to ensure you are ready to be in front of the camera. Some include;
- Let your photographer know of your anxiety – the more they are aware, the more they can do on your big day to eliminate any fear.
- Have an engagement photoshoot – this may seem cheesy but it is a great way to understand how your photographer works and build up that relationship and friendship with them. Remember they will be sharing the most important day of your life with you so them being a friendly face will definitely help.
- Send photo ideas – have a look at other wedding day photos and agree as a couple what you would like as memories. Have photos you would like to treasure forever, not ones you hide away and cringe at each time you see them!
- Set a time expectation – I wanted to spend as much time with my guests as possible so I ensured the ‘formal’ photos were done in a timely manner and quickly so everyone could relax and enjoy our wedding ‘party’
Remember this is your wedding day and a day which you will treasure forever. Do what makes you happy, what you are comfortable with and most importantly you will enjoy! Have fun and take every hour of the day in its stride! It goes so quickly but the memories will last a lifetime!
Bonus Top Tip
Each hour, take 5 minutes as a couple in a quiet part of the venue either watching your guests or talking to one another. It is a highly emotional day and the more you live ‘in-the-moment’ the more you will vividly remember for years to come!)
For further information about Charlotte’s services and how she can personally help you to create your dream wedding, please visit www.cedevents.co.uk. You can also find Charlotte on Instagram @CED.Events and Facebook CEDevents1