A big 2018 hello from me, Kat (aka Katrina Otter Weddings) and welcome to my first wedding planning feature of the year!
Before I jump straight in with a jam-packed feature full of pro wedding planning tips I wanted to take this opportunity (as it’s a new year and all) to say hi again (to those of you who are Coco regulars and are therefore as obsessed as I am with these beautifully stylish pages of inspirational pretty) or a first time hello (to those of you who are recently engaged and new to the world of wedding planning).
If you’re a Coco newbie then a little bit of blurb about me and my partnership with Coco Wedding Venues…
- I’m an award-winning Wedding Planner
- I’m obsessed with schedules
- I’ve been planning weddings in the UK for couples from around the world since 2012… which hopefully means that I know what I’m talking about!
- I’m one half of Coco & Kat – a Creative House for the Wedding Industry (check out our fancy new title!)
- I’m the Resident Wedding Planner for Coco Wedding Venues
- Together, Emma (aka Mrs Coco Wedding Venues) and I have written a pretty fab series detailing all of the planning basics you’ll need to get you going, including advice about budgets, schedules (of course!), roles and responsibilities, suppliers etc.
- We also have an annual Coco & Kat wedding trend report and if you’re interested, then here’s a link to our 2018 trend predictions (heads up, you’re in for a mammoth trending treat!)
The great news (if you’re planning a wedding) is that in 2018 we’ve got even more essential collaborative planning features in store for you, covering everything from hidden costs to social media – I may even throw in the odd paragraph (or five) about schedules!
Anyhoo, enough about me, let’s talk about YOU and YOUR wedding, specifically how to create the wedding YOU want.
Before I start, I just want to remind you that this is YOUR big day so the wedding that YOU want is naturally going to be different to the weddings that you might see in magazines, on blogs or on social media. It’s great to take your inspiration from Pinterest but those weddings (or styled shoots) are someone else’s vision of a perfect day. To make your wedding truly yours, it needs to reflect you rather than just replicating what you’ve seen elsewhere. If I was your teacher, I’d be telling you to do your research and not copy the person sitting next to you!
Now my mini-lecture is over and done with, let’s get on with the good stuff!
So here it is, my top tips for creating the wedding that YOU want…
Your kind of wedding
Figure out what you want and what kind of wedding you want as opposed to what everyone else thinks you should want. Yep, this is the biggie, so this has to be the place to start. Knowing what you want and what kind of wedding you want is far more important than setting your budget or booking your venue. Of course, the moment you announce your engagement (and possibly even before that!), lots of people are going to be weighing in with their thoughts and even their expectations for your big day. I’m not saying you have to ignore everyone and everything but it’s super important that you know what you want and that you remain true to this. If a suggestion fits with your vision, fantastic. If it doesn’t, don’t include it just to keep other people happy.
What’s important to you
Think about what’s important to you and to you both as a couple. These are the elements that then need to be at the core of your wedding and something that you need to keep on revisiting and reminding yourself of throughout the planning process. If you master this, then you’re also one step closer to ensuring that your wedding is a personal reflection of you as a couple.
Set the budget
Set your budget and then work with it, not against it. It’s very easy to feel constrained by your budget or to wish that there was more available for you to spend. Now I can’t deny that weddings cost money, but a big budget is absolutely no guarantee of a brilliant day. The best weddings are made by the couple in question, not by their credit cards. Bring your personalities to the day, create something that your guests will instantly recognise as being yours, welcome your loved ones and plan the style of event that you know you’ll enjoy. You don’t need money to do those things and money definitely doesn’t create the kind of atmosphere that makes a memorable day.
Throw the rule book away. You’ll have heard what’s ‘usually’ done at weddings, you’ll have been to weddings yourself and no doubt that in all your online browsing and talk with family and friends, your head will be overflowing with wedding traditions and details of expected etiquette. Forget it all because there’s absolutely nothing that you have to include. Keep those elements that work for you and don’t ever feel obliged to incorporate those that don’t. The joy of weddings today is that they can be whatever you want them to be so before you agree to a receiving line, a formal cake cutting, a first dance, a top table or even speeches and group photos, be sure that you really want them.
Don’t rush it
Take time to put together your A-Team of suppliers that totally get you and your style/vision. Now this one can be a tricky one because you’ll hear that ‘the best suppliers get booked up years in advance’ and that is indeed true. However, booking the right supplier is far more important than just booking a supplier. The suppliers that you choose will have a massive impact on the day and on how you feel about your wedding, especially during the weeks/months/years of planning. You need to feel secure with your decision and confident that the people you’re working with understand what you want from your day. Take time and do you research, get to know suppliers before you sign on the dotted line and don’t feel rushed into booking. When you’ve booked the right suppliers, you should feel that they’ve totally got your back and that you’re all working towards the same goal – YOUR wedding. And if you’re looking for more advice about wedding suppliers then this wedding planning feature from the archives (a guide to choosing your wedding suppliers) is a MUST READ!
If you’re receiving financial contributions from family members, then you need to have an open and honest conversation with them (from the outset) about their level of involvement in your wedding. Some families (and I’m stressing the word ‘some’ here), believe that by paying towards your big day, they’re somehow buying themselves a say in what you do. Whether it’s adding their friends to the guest list or wanting a say in the style and scheduling of your day, you need to decide whether you’re happy with this trade-off. Be clear from the outset that whilst you might welcome their input, the final decisions need to rest with you if you’re going to be able to create a wedding day that reflects you and your relationship. This absolutely has to be done at the start of the planning process to avoid stress, confusion and potential upset further down the line.
Remember that you’re never going to please everyone – no matter what you do! I hate to break it to you but however carefully you plan, someone at some point won’t like it. From the seating plan at dinner or the flowers in your bouquet to the menu or the bar arrangements, you won’t be able to keep everyone happy. And that’s ok. You’ve not set out to deliberately antagonize anyone and you are entitled to have the wedding day that you want. In fact, creating your day almost means that you won’t please everyone because there’s no one else out there who’s just like you – so embrace it, this is YOUR wedding!
Wishing you all the best with YOUR truly fabulous, personal and utterly unique wedding preparations.
Until next time…
Words & Wedding Planning Katrina Otter Weddings
Photography Hannah Duffy Photography
Venue The Plough
Florist Willow & Wolf
Tipi Events Under Canvas
Hair Natalie Frances
Make Up Lucy St John
Stationery Pear Paper Co.
Décor Helene Millot