20 Top wedding tips and ideas you need to know!
There are a lot of things you should know if you’re planning a successful wedding. There are so many hints, tips, ideas and even hacks that could lead you to wedding planning success.
I have attended many weddings as a magician and balloon artist, as well as helping out with advice to my clients when planning their day.
Here are 20 tips, divided into the areas of ‘Planning’ and ‘On the day tips’ for you to consider.
Wedding planning tips
1. Budget guide:
The graphic shows the approximate proportions of your budget allocated to each requirement of your wedding. You will need to consider:
48-50% Reception and venue. This would include all of your meals and any drinks you wish to provide for your guests.
10 -12% Photographer and/or videographer. Again, an essential requirement. Many couples are shocked as to the price of photographers, but the amount of work they must do is incredible, hence the price.
Photographers spend time taking pictures on the day, but the real work is in the production of the photos and preparing albums etc.
10% Entertainment and music. Another shock! Higher than many people think. but do not underestimate this investments into your day. The modern wedding guest almost expects some form of entertainment and choosing the right type for your wedding will help make it a fun and memorable occasion for all.
Obviously music is an essential, whether it be from a DJ or a live band. But also from this budget, you need to consider: any other live musicians (harpist, pianist etc), magician, children’s entertainment, caricaturist, photobooth, and any lawn games you may wish to buy or rent.
8% for flowers and décor. Flowers are, of course, a necessity. But don’t forget bunting, lighting, table arrangements, chair covers and balloon décor. This should all come from this section of your budget.
8-10% For clothing. Make sure you’re happy with your choice!
6% Invites and Gifts. Couples often enjoy selecting and preparing their invites and usually, this is not too expensive a process. There are some excellent hand-made invitation services which, although a little more expensive, provide you with a classy product. Gifts are difficult but a great starting point, together with a budget setter, can be found here.
8% Other costs. Miscellaneous costs and any potential wedding planner you choose to use. 3% of this budget should be reserved for unforeseen circumstances (printing extra invites due to mistakes, tailoring, umbrellas etc)
2.Sign up for credit – this is a great tip!
Weddings are expensive – so cash in by registering for a credit card with rewards.
ONLY DO THIS IF you pay off the value in time so that you are not penalised and charged interest.
But enjoy the perks of a credit card. You could earn thousands of reward points for air miles (honeymoon?) or shopping.
3. Ask for advice – a hint definitely worth knowing!
When you buy a service or product from a wedding supplier, chances are you are very happy with them!
This means that you are also likely to be happy with someone else that they can recommend for another wedding service.
This way, you know that you can trust you are paying for something you are far more likely to like than if you take a ‘stab-in-the-dark’ at a supplier!
4. Plan your date carefully – an idea worth noting.
Are there any dates which should be a no-go?
Perhaps there is a large event on near your venue of choice on a particular weekend where traffic is likely to be affected. Maybe your hotel venue has a conference on at the same time – would you want this?
Check for some wedding dates here.
5. Hold out for a date? It could save you a fortune!
Perhaps you want to risk securing a venue at a cheaper price?
If you are not too fused as to where your wedding is held, hold out. Venues with gaps want to fill these vacancies and, as the date approaches, you should be able to negotiate a better deal with them to secure your date.
However, if you are set on a particular venue – don’t hold out! Book it or you may lose out. Just remember that it may well cost you a premium rate though.
6. How many people should I invite? Overcrowding is not great.
I have attended weddings where I feel like a sardine in a tin!
Honestly, there is nothing else more uncomfortable than not feeling you can move your chair backwards slightly for the fear of banging into another guest. People especially feel the urge to do this after eating a large wedding breakfast!
So, you should really work out how many people you would like at your wedding before searching for venues.
Why? Because you need to ensure it will be a comfortable venue for the number of heads. The general rule should be to allocate around 7 to 9 square metres per guest.
This will sound a lot! But when you consider table and chair space, a dance floor, DJ, band, photo booth, sweet cart, bustling waiters running around and of course your guests’ general movement, it really isn’t.
7. Prioritise your guests
If your dream wedding venue really cannot comfortably accommodate the number of guests you would like, you’re best to cut the list for everyone’s on-the-day comfort (and it reduces your bill!). Get rid of those distant relatives perhaps?!
Here is a hierarchy to consider. At the top are the absolute must guests:
Family you can’t imagine spending the day without (e.g. aunts uncles, cousins etc)
8. Make the list lighter
Finding the cost rising?
Lighten the load by crossing off some guests from the bottom of the hierarchy we saw above. This can be a brutal and sad experience, but sometimes, needs must.
However, being one of your larger costs, a cut here is significant. If it costs £75 a head for a meal and drinks, cutting 5 people saves £375 and a cut of 10 can save £750.
9. Don’t hesitate to ask for vendors to be flexible
Your wedding suppliers will want to work with you.
There will surely be a little give in what they can/cannot offer you. Maybe you could ask your venue to sacrifice your starters in favour of a late night snack (bacon sandwiches are great for this) or ask the photographer for a bridal portrait session instead of an engagement one?
If the supplier is reputable, they will surely have an honest conversation with you about the possibilities. Their job is to tell you what is and what isn’t possible!
10. While on the subject of asking, why not ask for something a little extra?
When booking your suppliers, why not ask them for a little extra?
Many would prefer to give you a little extra to secure the booking. This tactic works best when booking in advance.
If there is little time before your wedding they will be less inclined to offer you perks to get you signing on the dotted line. They know that your demand for the product is higher at this stage.
11. Decide upon your children’s policy early – or you may upset your guests!
It’s best to make this decision early on and, if you are not inviting children, let people know – on the save the date cards if possible.
That way, they have plenty of time to find baby sitters. If you do invite children, don’t make the mistakes that so many make. Check out this guide to the 12 most common mistakes people make when inviting children to their wedding.
You could decide that all of your guests can bring their children, or that it’s adults only. Perhaps you would prefer that only the bridal party may bring children. Want advice on how to word the invites? Click here.
12. Make a list of contact numbers
You never know what might happen. So have a list of emergency contacts for all of your suppliers you may need to contact on the day should something happen or go wrong.
13.Toiletry baskets – my favourite tip!
Number 13 is unlucky for some, but I have saved my favourite tip for here! Many of the weddings I have been to have simply ignored or not known about toiletry baskets.
The weddings I have been to that seemed really well planned and thought out had toiletry baskets.
If you don’t know what they are, they are baskets filled with goodies placed in the toilets. A good starting point for a toiletry basket can be found by clicking here. Baskets can have hair sprays, plasters, Vaseline, toothpicks, mints and hand wipes for example.
Little treats like lollipops and boiled sweets are also a nice touch. Just ensure they are wrapped for hygiene! Your wedding venue may supply these or you could make your own.
14. Make a list of jobs to do for the Groom
Although bridesmaids are often very good at reminding the bride exactly what she needs to do, Groomsmen are not always as reliable.
They may well bring beer for the Groom, but they could forget to remind him to do everything that he needs. Sit down together and write the list of jobs.
15. Make sure you have downloaded a wedding app.
Here you can coordinate all sorts of things such as photos and invites. Here are two you may like, but explore your phone’s marketplace.
16. Greet each of your guests! They will feel less involved if you don’t.
This sounds obvious but believe me, your day will go very quickly and you will have to act fast! Ensure you personally greet each guest and thank them for coming to spend the day with you.
This could be over a nice cocktail, prosecco, beer, orange juice or perhaps by visiting them at their dinner table or dancing with them on the dance floor.
Understand that you probably won’t have a long time with every guest and spend a slightly longer time with those that have travelled to be with you.
17. Have or design a seating and lounge area
A ‘chill-zone’ is a lovely touch. Some venues will have such an area, but many will not.
If this is the case, hire in some comfy seats or make a nice lounge area – not everyone likes to dance the night away.
Have a nice low music playing in the background, and you could even provide little favours. Trust me, this makes for a memorable experience and is always well received.
In this age, everyone has a phone and if any children are coming, they may have tablets.
In fact, you may actively encourage children bring these devices for the times when they hit the ‘I’m bored!’ stage! Having a recharging station for various devices is a great way to show that you have thought about your guests needs on the day.
Perhaps put a sign up asking them to share any on-the-day snaps they have captured on their phones too. Ensure you have a hashtag for the day so that you can find them all!
A photobooth is great fun. Not only that, it can act as an alternative to the now all-to-often-seen guest book. Have your friends and family write a message on a piece of A4 card with bold markers and then get them to have their photos taken with the message. It makes for a far nicer, more memorable and contemporary keepsake at the end of it all.
20. Take some time for yourselves!
Your day will be BUSY! Take a moment to sneak away together for a while.
Reflect on the day and enjoy the first few moments of married life. If you’re staying at the venue, go to the Honeymoon suite – no one will find you there!
So, there you have it. 20 Top wedding tips and ideas for you to read, digest and consider. Not all will be relevant to you but I really hope that at least 3 of them have made you seriously think about your day.
Until next time, thanks
About the author:
Nick Twist is a wedding magician based in Norwich, UK. He is a specialist family wedding magician which means that his aim is to deliver the feel-good factor to guests of all ages.
From sleight of hand magic for the adults to beautiful balloon art for the children, he provides totally unrivalled ‘all ages’ wedding entertainment within the industry.