Are you recently engaged and planning your special day? Chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed, a bit clueless and just don’t have the foggiest idea how to plan a wedding?
This post breaks down what areas needed to cover in order to get impressive, professional and unforgettable results.
You’re still pinching yourself following on from your dreamy engagement and constantly staring at the new bling that sits on your left hand. It’s just so sparkly! It’s important to enjoy this time, it’s a huge life event and your nearest and dearest will be super happy for you. However there will come a point when you will need to start planning the all important day! You and your betrothed need to clear your diary for a proper wedding planning discussion. This chat needs to touch on your preferred date/month/year, the feel and type of venue, the guest list and of course what’s available in the kitty.
In order for you to plan effectively, you need to figure out how much you are able to afford. Do you have savings? Will your families be contributing? Set up a separate bank account for the big day and make sure you make notes on all outgoings.
Your venue will take up a huge proportion of the day (and budget) so it need to be right and meet your criteria. Do you fancy a castle, barn, marquee, hotel or manor house? Does it hold your guest numbers comfortably? Do they offer a catering service? You can find venues by using online directories and word of mouth recommendations.
A wedding isn’t a celebration without guests! Your nearest and dearest sharing this day with you will be what makes the day so memorable. You want to be able to provide a wonderful experience for your guests to ensure they are comfortable and satisfied as it can be a very long day! You’ll need to write out your guests list (I’d advise using a spreadsheet), carefully select your table plan, and think about how to manage family issues and consider how to best look after elderly, disabled guests and children. You will also want to think about fun, original ideas to keep your guests entertained during the day.
This is such a huge area and is the element that is most personal to you both. The overall look and feel can bring out your personalities/likes and make the day extra special for your guests. If you have lots of items to coordinate on the day and don’t want the stress of organising, I would strongly suggest hiring a stylist of wedding planner to assist with this. Not all couples are into the design elements and that’s fine too, whatever suits you both best is my motto! You need to think about colour, flowers, linens, lighting, stationery and much more. It’s all about the attention to detail!
Suppliers are the wedding professionals who will help your day come alive. They have the skills set needed to assist you to make your wedding day go without a hitch! So who will be chosen for your wedding a-team? Have you been given recommendations or have you searched online? From cake makers to wedding gift lists – you have to cover all bases.
The day needs a clear structure and time line. Start with your ceremony time and work from there. There are also certain things you need to do in advance of your special day to ensure nothing is forgotten!
It’s now time to enjoy your special day! With all your hardwork behind you, you now must relax and take in the day from start to finish. Once you are married and have gone back to reality, there are some tasks that need to be addressed such as thanking guests, dry cleaning your dress and legally changing your name amongst others.
So that’s what you need to cover to make your wedding the best day ever, but how do you go about it? Cue my signature 8 step wedding planning course – The Online Wedding Planner. Covering all you need to know to plan your wedding like a professional.
The course includes:
The best thing is that I’m offering £100 off for a limited time only, so sign up here today!
I don’t know about you but between Christmas and New Year, where you get a little time to yourself, I always like to reflect on the past year. It’s really important to take stock, learn from any errors or mistakes and show gratitude for the people and experiences that have shaped the past 365 days.
2018 has been a really fabulous year for Host Weddings & Events but also personally for me and my family. I will always think fondly of 2018 – the year that I tied the knot myself and that endless summer which seemed to just keep on going. I have worked with the best clients this year, helping them make memories that will last a lifetime and for me that’s just the best part of my job. I always feel very honoured to be a part of a couple’s wedding day or involved in a family celebration. That’s what life is about isn’t it – celebrating the good stuff in life and I’m lucky enough to be able to plan these life events!
So here’s a little round up of 2018 – an absolute belter!
A flurry of enquiries came our way in early Spring and I was so excited to start working with new couples, each with their own ideas and personalities. It’s so important to me to get to know my clients as people. I always schedule in a lengthy call at the beginning of the enquiry process, followed with a bespoke, personalised proposal.
I enjoyed working with two couples on their May weddings one at Arnos Vale in Bristol and the other at The Guildhall in Bath.
The summer time is always a busy one here at Host HQ, but this summer especially was jam packed with the addition of my very own special day! Mine and Mr R’s wedding can be found over on wedding blog Whimsical Wonderland Weddings – feel free to have a nose. We had the most amazing day full of love and laughter.
We were so lucky with the weather weren’t we?! Oh my goodness – it was a blessing really as all my Summer weddings had outdoor elements from outdoor ceremonies to marquees and tipi’s. I love the relaxed feeling of the countryside weddings that I plan. The majority of the weddings were held at family homes, which adds such a personal, chilled out feel to proceedings. As well as the private homes, I also got the chance to work at the absolutely stunning The Lost Orangery in Wiltshire. I actually felt like I had traveled to Italy for the day – the views, the architecture, the lake, the gardens – wow – just wow!
Animals also played a huge part in the weddings I planned this year from one of my brides arriving to her ceremony on horseback, llamas attending as a surprise to the groom at another and dogs being ring bearers – they all had such a big part to play and were all wonderful!
I was lucky enough to help organise a golden wedding celebration at the marvelous Maunsel House in Somerset. My client was based in New York so we arranged many a video call. The event was booked over a three day period with family and friends attending from all over the world. My client wanted to use this occasion to bring their loved ones together and treat it as a reunion. It was such a special event with cultural ceremonies and traditions thrown in.
Behind the scenes I was working on my new brand with my designer Louise, ready for it’s launch in November. I also planned on launching a brand new venue consultancy as I have a passion for wedding venues and what they represent.
I also found out that I had become a finalist in the wedding planner category in the South West with The Wedding Industry Awards – exciting!
November was all about my launch party which was held at The Florist in Bristol. You can read about it here. It was such a fabulous evening with so many people taking the time to celebrate with me. It felt great to have the new brand out there, live for the world to see. I’m so pleased with the outcome!
The following week I attended The Wedding Industry Awards South West Regional final. The awards ceremony takes place every year with a different South West venue hosting. This year saw the turn of the very beautiful Rockbeare Manor in Devon. The night was full of anticipation and although it wasn’t to be for Host this time, I was so chuffed to have made it to the finals and so delighted that my couples had voted for me – thank you so much for your support – it means so much!
So what’s left to say is thank you for your continued support. Thank you for the talented and hardworking suppliers I’ve worked with this year, thank you to my clients for booking me and trusting me to do them proud. Thank you to my wonderful family for always supporting me on this journey! I couldn’t do it without any of you!
I am so looking forward to what 2019 holds for Host Weddings & Events. I cannot wait to work with more clients, planning life’s celebrations and helping them to make everlasting memories.
Happy new year to you all – I wish you health and happiness for the year ahead.
Welcome to my journal! This is the first post that I have written and published since I re-branded and launched my new-look website. What do you think? I’m basically in love with it! I love the neutral tones, the soft black and the hints of gold. What I love the most though is the tagline “Planning life’s celebrations” because that’s the business I am in and it’s what makes my job so rewarding. So massive thanks to Louise from Fleurir Creative!
Not only have I re-branded this business, I have launched a brand new venue consultancy – Host Venue Consultancy. Helping venues achieve the success they truly deserve. Earlier in the day, I held a mini shoot to showcase my new business with the lovely Sam from Vaughan-Stephens Photography.
Naturally, to celebrate a party was in order. In my opinion, there should be a party to celebrate all life events and as it’s what I actually do as an occupation, I didn’t really have a choice!
The party was held at The Florist, Bristol. Probably one of the most instagrammable bars in the city and a venue that has the most perfect exclusive use area with a private bar. Good job I had Adrian Hibbert on hand to take images of the party unfolding!
My lovely sister and talented, award-winning MUA Jessica, made me party ready with her makeup skills.
My guests were treated to a “florist bellini” cocktail on arrival, created by their top mixologists. They included apple, passionfruit and grapefruit liqueurs topped up with fizz! Those who required a mocktail got something very similar just without the booze!
As a sweet treat and favour, guests were provided with a delicious lemon and elderflower cup cake with metallic gold foil case, edible rose petals and my new “h” monogram on top. Thank you Katherine from Cherish Cakes – they were divine!
For me, an event is all about creating a welcoming atmosphere and entertainment (in my book) is so important. I was lucky enough to have the uber talented Richard Parsons AKA Glos Magician. His close up magic really did have my guests guessing and blew them away. Alongside Richard we were lucky to enjoy the dulcet tones of Mr Pat McIntyre, Bristol’s top singer and guitarist (he actually performed at our wedding). I also had a promotional video running silently on a TV, showing all my guests exactly what I do. It had great visual impact and was expertly edit and filmed by Rob from Taylor’s Videography.
As the Florist is beautiful in its own right, there wasn’t a huge amount of decoration but fresh flowers are my fave so the lovely Rachel from the Roseshed provided some seasonal flowers that complimented by brand colours. These were dotted around the space along with some tiny candles.
I was joined by friends, family, clients and industry colleagues and I honestly had the most amazing evening celebrating this achievement.
Are you re-branding or launching a business in 2019? Here are my top tips in order to create an unforgettable launch party that everyone’s talking about!
Stick to your budget
In the first instance think about the amount of money you wish to spend on this event. Think about why you are holding it in the first place. You probably want some exposure, right? It’s a PR activity at the end of the day, so will be coming from your annual marketing budget.
Choose a venue that’s on brand
When searching for a suitable venue, yes the capacity and facilities are massively important but is it on brand? Does it go with your brand’s colour way, what it stands for? So for example, my brand is soft, romantic and feminine so The Florist with it’s muted tones and abundance of flowers made for the perfect choice.
Write a guest list of influencers
Again – why are you hosting this party? To gain exposure of course! So think strategically about who you should be inviting. Think local journalists, industry experts, bloggers, you tubers, celebrities, TV. You may have to sweeten them in order for them to turn up. What can you do for them? Give them VIP access for a goody bag or a special area perhaps?
Create a hash tag
Create a memorable hash tag that guests can use throughout the event. Choose something that’s not already taken and kindly ask your guests to use this in the invitations, have a sign up at the event and then mention it in the speech! I got tonnes of new followers and likes in a 24 hour period and it was great to see all the posts easily by typing in the hash tag.
Provide some value to your guests and surprise them with treats. Now I’m not saying go crazy with designer goody bags that cost a fortune, I’m talking something that’s worth photographing, on brand and makes them smile. I toyed with the idea of a gift but I decided that my event was all about the atmosphere an as I plan events, I wanted to showcase that more than a personalised product. I opted for a bespoke cocktail on arrival, a monogrammed cupcake, live music and social magic. It all went down a treat and those suppliers got great coverage too.
So, if your company is looking to launch a new brand, a new product or is about to take their area of business by storm, then do get in touch today. I can help you create a fabulous launch party that works really hard for you and more importantly is enjoyed by all!
If you’ve never heard of a mini moon, where have you been? They are an increasingly popular option for newly married couples who choose to wait a bit before venturing out on their proper honeymoon. The clue is in the name – mini moons are short breaks taken by newlyweds after the wedding, while waiting for the proper honeymoon at a later date.
There are obviously various reasons for choosing this type of holiday and choosing to delay the official honeymoon. Budget constraints after the wedding, work commitments or personal reasons are all common answers you could hear from a couple setting out on a mini moon and postponing their official honeymoon.
The location and length of mini moons both tend to be shorter – both shorter distances away from home and shorter lengths of stay. For couples based in London or the south of England, they might venture slightly up north or to Scotland or Ireland for their mini moon. The same is true for couples based in Ireland or in Scotland, they tend to travel slightly further away from home for the mini moon, but never abroad. With the multitude of beautiful hotels, towns and sights to be seen throughout the UK and Ireland, it’s the perfect choice for couples not ready to take a full honeymoon just yet.
Below is a list of some of the best locations to consider if you’re planning a mini moon. They all are set in beautiful, stunning parts of the country, and offer complete relaxation and comfort for you and your new partner and are the perfect getaway before the real thing.
At the beginning of the month, I was very lucky to be invited to visit the Costwold House Hotel & Spa along with other wedding planners and bloggers.
Set in two acres of beautifully landscaped gardens this grade II Regency luxury townhouse, in the heart of Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, makes for the perfect location for your Civil Ceremony, Wedding Reception or special occasion. The hotel is available on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis.
The hotel has a warm, friendly and personal feel. On arrival I was checked in earlier than expected and my bag (it was heavy!), kindly taken to my room.
The room itself was modern, light and airy but with traditional features such as wooden beams. There are 28 air conditioned en-suite bedrooms at the hotel with most providing fabulous views out onto the manicured gardens or the pretty high street. There are luxurious suites available for the bride and groom.
Food & Drink
We were served a glorious afternoon tea with a wide selection of tea to choose from and 3 tiered stands with miniatures cakes, scones and smoked salmon sandwiches.
In the garden there is a charming gin bar where we enjoyed gin from local business Cotswolds Distillery,
I was lucky enough to dine in the 2 rosette awarded restaurant Fig. We were served a 5 course tasting menu and it was simply gorgeous. I thoroughly enjoyed each course and can imagine that the wedding and special event catering at this venue would be of the same very high quality standard.
Wedding & Event Spaces
There are two rooms available for us for weddings and events:
The Montrose is a lovely light-filled room with a pitched roof and beams seating up to 90 guests for a ceremony and wedding breakfast and 120 for an evening reception.
The Fig restaurant encapsulates the original Regency Manor House but with contemporary decor. This room can seat up to 45 for a ceremony and 30 for a wedding breakfast.
The hotel boasts a beautiful spa in a separate garden through the pretty gardens. There is a full menu of treatments available, a hydrotherapy pool with jacuzzi and relaxation area, an aromatic steam room and relax room, retail area and changing facilities. All guests are offered complimentary robes, towels and slippers on arrival. Complimentary Herbal Teas can be taken at your leisure. I loved the sorbet I was given after the treatment – very refreshing!
Chipping Campden is a quintessentially English Cotswold town. It really is stunning! There are some fabulous businesses on the high street who can cater for your wedding or event including:
www.thebaytreeatcampden.com – Flowers
www.louisepocock.com – Millinery
www.aneatabootedesign.simpl.com – Silver smith
www.robertwelch.com – Luxury cutlery and tableware
I had a wonderful stay at the Cotswold House Hotel & Spa. The staff were incredibly helpful and gave great customer service, the room was comfortable, the spa relaxing and the food exquisite. If you are looking for a boutique hotel to hold your wedding or event, look no further than this hidden gem of a venue – you won’t be disappointed! Thank you Craig and Mandy!
All photography by KLP Photography
With the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle only a day away, I thought it was the perfect time to share my predictions with you! The whole world will be eagerly watching with excitement and anticipation as the coverage starts on BBC 1 from 9am UK time tomorrow morning and will also be shown on ITV1 and Sky news.
This really is a bit of fun and I suppose is more of what I’d like to see come to fruition!
Naturally, I have to start here. Everyone will be holding their breath as the bride steps out of her golden carriage to get the first glimpse of “the dress”.
Meghan’s style, I would say, would be classed as simple sophistication. She tends to wear clean lines, fitting to her figure with a touch of her personality thrown in. I feel any type of dress would suit the bride’s petite frame.
Two designers that I think may be in the running are Ralph & Russo and Stella McCartney. The dress itself I think will be simple with little lace detailing (if any). I think sleeves either cap or longer may make an appearance with a secondary dress for the evening reception showing more arm. I think there will be a short train. There will be a level of royal protocol and modesty within the design but Meghan does like to do things her own way – so who knows!
What I do know is her dress will influence designers internationally and will play a huge part in bridal trends for 2019 and will go into the history books for years to come.
Hair and Makeup
I strongly believe that Meghan’s hair will be styled up and she will wear a veil. I can’t imagine her wearing a tiara or heavy hair accessories but royal rules may apply here.
Makeup will be natural, enhancing her beauty. I can see a subtle smoky eye appearing with black eyeliner as this tends to be what she wears on official duties.
Bridal bouquet’s at royal weddings tend to be large cascading arrangements (like Princess Diana’s) or smaller teardrops (like the Duchess of Cambridge’s). I’d like to see Meghan with a hand tied bouquet with a whimsical feel. Lots of foliage with ivory peonies, roses and sweet peas.
With regards to on the day flowers at the venue etc, I think there will be a huge amount of foliage with British, in season florals in ivory. This is a classic look that many royal weddings have used.
Sadly Meghan’s father will not be attending the wedding so the question is – who will be giving her away? My thoughts are that she will either walk down on her own (this to me would be very lonely and extremely frightening) or walk in on the arm of her Mother Doria, whom she has a close bond with.
The ceremony will follow a very similar structure to other royal weddings but I would love to see some modern musical interludes.
The couple won’t have the opportunity to wave regally to the general public at Buckingham Palace and display their affection with the iconic “kiss”. Meghan and Prince Harry are very open in their body language with one another and will not be at all shy to give people what they want to see! I think post ceremony on the steps of St George’s Chapel, there may be an opportunity for this. Let’s wait and see!
We already know that the cake will take the form of a lemon and elderflower sponge (yum). I would love to see this as a tiered semi naked or naked cake with fresh flowers.
There will be two receptions one hosted by the Queen and the other by Prince Charles at Frogmore House. Rumours of a standing reception using bowl food has been discussed which I think very much sits in line with the couple’s relaxed personalities. I think this is wonderful news – it’s a really sociable way of dining and I love how Harry and Meghan like to do things their own way, rather than constantly following protocol.
I think their private event in the evening will certainly be filled with lots of live entertainment from big names in the music industry and the couple will ensure their guests have a party to remember!
I wish Prince Harry and Meghan Markle the most wonderful of days. They are truly a very special couple and I wish them a lifetime full of happiness.
Enjoy watching the day unfold tomorrow everyone!
So you’re engaged – what wonderful news and what an exciting time for you both!
But what happens now? Check out my list of things to do before you start wedding planning.
Enjoy the moment
You’re still pinching yourself following on from your dreamy engagement and constantly staring at the new bling that sits on your left hand. It’s just so sparkly! It’s important to enjoy this time, it’s a huge life event! Give yourself both time to digest the occasion.
Let your nearest and dearest know
You’ll probably be dying to tell your parents, siblings, extended family and your besties. Go ahead and do it. Milk the moment and take enjoyment from seeing their happy faces and the buzz that surrounds this time. You may wish to post a photo/announcement on social media too.
Get your ring resized if need be
If your new favourite possession doesn’t quite fit then you’ll need to get it resized as soon as possible so you can proudly show it off! Go to the jewellers where it was purchased and send it off. It’ll be really hard not having the ring in your possession but it will soon be back and safely secured on your finger! It might be a nice idea to get a fresh manicure too for all those instagram worthy photos you will inevitably take!
Roughly set a date
Start thinking about when you are likely to tie the knot. Will it be this year, next or even in two years time? Considerations such as budget, family events and supplier availability will play a part here.
Immerse yourself in wedding magazines, blogs and pinterest to start figuring out the sort of wedding you’re after. Think about colours, style, dresses, who you will choose as your bridal party, locations etc. You could use directories such as The Wedding Secret to start your search.
Keep a journal
Keep any inspiration you’ve found, useful contact numbers, blog posts, articles in one place. Write down any thoughts in a journal which you can keep and use throughout the process.
If you don’t know where to begin and thinking about planning sends you into complete overwhelm, you might want to check out my 8 step online course The Online Wedding Planner or come and join my FREE facebook group “The Wedding Planning Community” where you can gather helpful tips, advice and chat to other couples in the same boat.
All the best with planning your special day, I’d love to hear your proposal stories – send them here firstname.lastname@example.org to get the chance to feature on my blog!
Happy New Year you lovely lot! I hope you enjoyed the Christmas festivities in December and are raring to go with planning your forthcoming wedding.
For those that don’t know, I’m getting married this year (eeek always the planner never the bride but not anymore!) and for Christmas, I was gifted the most beautiful hard backed, gold foiled luxury wedding planner book (thanks Mama!). It is totally swoon worthy and bang on trend and opening it made me grin from ear to ear. As you can imagine, being a wedding planner by trade, getting organised is always high on my agenda and this tool will do just that!
The gorgeous planners are the brain child of the lovely Mara from Blush and Gold, a luxury online wedding stationery boutique. I’ve been avidly following Mara’s work for ages and saw the launch of the planners last year. I secretly wished for a copy, so was really happy to be given this little gem.
The planners come in a choice of designs from marble, plain, eucalyptus, blush, ombre and starry. They are all just divine. I was given the plain white book with the gold foil writing which totally goes with our wedding theme.
Aren’t they just lovely!
So what’s inside? Well what isn’t?! There’s over 150 pages of worksheets, space for inspiration mood boards and handy hints and tips. I especially liked the photography shot list.
– Timeline and checklist
– Inspiration moodboard
– Budget plan
– Venue Research
– Extra entertainment
– Guest list
– The wedding party
– Wedding theme and colours
– Wedding stationery moodboard and research
– Stationery tracker
– Photographer Research
– Band/Dj Research
– Caterers and menu research
– Wedding dress + accessories moodboard and research
– Transport research;- Flower moodboard and florist research
– Decor moodboard and research
– Cake moodboard and research
– Vows/readings and ceremony planning
– Bridesmaids dresses moodboard and research
– Groomswear research
– Honeymoon research and planning (incl. packing list)
– Wedding favour moodboard
– Invitation planning
– Hair and make-up moodboards and research
– Seating planner
– Supplier contact sheet
– Wedding day timeline
– Emergency contacts
– Wedding day checklist
…and much more!
Perhaps you’re not due to tie the knot, but know someone that is – this would make the most perfect gift and look above at how they’re packaged – just dreamy!
I think the £25 price tag + postage is reasonable for this this handy, design led planner. To purchase one of your very own, check out the online shop here. Whilst you’re there, why not check out the plentiful wedding stationery designs available to personalise for your wedding. Just gorgeous! Thanks Mara for creating such a cute book and thanks Mama for thinking of me.
Until next time…
Your bridal party are your “a-team” that totally have your back on the day! They have named roles and should be chosen wisely. These people mean a lot to you and your other half and asking them to be part of the main party will be a real honour to those asked. Here are a list of their bridal party duties:
Maid/Matron of Honour/Chief Bridesmaid – This is the lady who the bride will rely most heavily. Their duties include:
Bridesmaids – These guests are always female of any age from 8 years upwards. The main job of a bridesmaids is to assist the chief bridesmaid with their plans, especially the hen party. The bridesmaids will help to gather all the ladies together for a bouquet toss. The bridesmaids would traditionally walk down the aisle after the bride, but it’s now becoming more popular for the bridesmaids to walk down first with the bride walking in last. This creates more anticipation for the congregation. The bridesmaids are thanked in the grooms speech. Choosing bridesmaids can be difficult as you need to think about all the ladies and girls in both immediate families, if you choose particular people you may feel that you need to choose others to make it fair. If you decide on just a few ladies or girls, perhaps others that are close to you could be given important roles such as organising the hen party or reading a poem during the ceremony. They will usually wear special dresses in the chosen colour theme and may have a floral bouquet to finish the look.
Flower girls – If you have any under 8 year olds within your party you might want to ask them to be your flower girl. Any little girl will absolutely love wearing a pretty dress and being an important person for the day! A flower girl will walk down the aisle (usually first in the procession), scattering petals from a basket or carrying a miniature floral bouquet or wand.
Page boys – If you have any little boys in your party you might want to ask them to be your page boy. Usually the page boy will accompany the flower girl down the aisle and may also act as the ring bearer.
Best Man – The best man (or men) is the main source of support to the groom throughout the planning of the wedding. The biggest tasks for the best man is the organisation of the stag party, looking after those important rings on the day and of course the anticipated “best mans speech”! Other duties will include collecting and organising any hired suits, coordinating the ushers, acting as master of ceremonies if required and potentially a witness for the signing of the register.
Ushers – The ushers are there to assist the bride, groom and best man on the day more than anything. They generally wear the suits chosen for the groom and best man to show that they are part of the bridal party along with buttonholes. Duties may include, greeting guests at the ceremony venue, handing out order of services and seating of the guests for the ceremony.
Good luck choosing your wedding “a-team”!