• Zuza McKen

Wedding Planning Hacks - how to plan a wedding

Updated: Aug 4

You said YES! But what next?

Image Via Caroline Opacic Photography

You have the picture-perfect image of what your wedding should be like, but when it comes down to planning it, it can seem a bit daunting. Where to start? How much will or should your epic day cost? (Average wedding in the UK is around 25-30 grand). What venue to choose and why? City or countryside? What shall the theme be? Who will you invite? Will you be able to dedicate over 200hrs of planning to pull it off? (Yes, that is about how long it will take you!)

It’s all doable of course if you put your savvy head on - didn’t mean to scare you.

Here are some planning hacks to get you started:

1. The Budget

It really is a no brainer that the budget should be first on this list as it determines what kind of do you can get for your buck.

These are some of the important things you will need to budget for:

  • The dress

  • Bridesmaids dresses

  • Grooms suit

  • Rings

  • The venue

  • Catering

  • Drinks

  • Florist

  • Decorations/props

  • Furniture (if it’s a dry hire)

  • Props

  • Lighting

  • Crockery & glassware

  • Photographer

  • Music

  • On the day coordinator (essential if you want to have a stress free day!)

  • Stylist (if you're thinking of hiring one, book them first. They will help you find your perfect suppliers!)

There is no point in calling around asking for quotes if you don’t have a firm budget set in your mind (and in your bank). And of course, stick to it no matter what. You will find that if you don’t, the cost can easily run away with you. If you find the whole thing a bit “don’t know where to start”, don't fret.

I'm sure you've downloaded my FREE Wedding Planning Calendar Checklist to get you on your way?

Or even better, if you want to plan your wedding like a pro, you can purchase my mega 9-page COMPLETE WEDDING PLANNING GUIDE for as little as £18!

You will basically get the insider info on how to seamlessly plan a wedding plus, I've included a super helpful interactive budget calculator to help you keep an eye on spending.

2. Number of guests

Of course, the budget will determine how many guests you are able to invite. For example, catering is calculated per head (think around £100 per head), and venues have different capacities, etc.

One of the tricks to lower cost is to divide guests into full day and evening only. Then you get to party with everyone.

3. The Venue

This is so very personal for you guys. Some couples want to get married somewhere special they have a romantic connection to (first date, where he/she proposed, or simply a forever dreamed about venue).

Some want that cool urban setting (easier to stuff all your tipsy pals into taxies at the end of the night), some want the countryside barn or stately home with amazing grounds, and some a colourful tipi festival wedding. Whatever it is you want, it'll dictate the cost of the hire, so do your research before deciding where it'll be.

Start calculating your cost backwards.

For example:

The venue - out of your £30,000, the venue will take out £6000.

Catering - out of your £30,000, for 100 guests, £100 per head will take £10,000 out of your budget.

That's half of your budget gone already. Now is the time to prioritise for the rest!

But let’s see how venue they differ:

There are a few things you might want to consider when it comes to city versus country. City venues might be more pricey but are more practical.

Country venues could be cheaper but logistically a bit more complicated. You will need to think about your guests' transport and accommodation for example. How will you meet the vendors, supervise all supplier setups, end of night clear up, etc.

Do you have time to go and have a rehearsal walk-through in the country, meet all suppliers to talk logistics, and do a tasting? Will you miss anything when booking the barn or tipi? Imagine you realised on the day that you didn’t order enough lighting or a second generator for example? Yikes!

This is when I can come in, check nothing has been missed, take over the wheel and drive it smoothly over the finish line.

4. The Date

Sometimes this will be determined by the venue availability. I would advise that as long as it’s as close to your imagined date as possible it’s totally fine. Especially now when all the weddings have been postponed till next year and most of the prime dates are already booked up. You wouldn't want to miss out on your dream venue just because your exact Saturday was booked up already. I predict that a lot of mid-week weddings will be happening next year and that’s totally fine. Your besties will be there no matter what. If you’re struggling to find a venue, I know of some amazing places I could recommend for you. Just another of the little extras I offer to couples. If you're struggling, give me a bell.

5. The Theme

This should totally represent you guys. Do you want it to be super elegant, over the top crazy, boho romantic, cool minimalist, fun & relaxed? What kind of food do you want and how do you want the meal to be served? Canapes and full service? Or do you want your guests to help themselves from a lush grazing table (super popular for some time now) or have dinner platters on tables (requires less serving staff)? What kind of seating plan will go for? Round tables or trestle tables, swanky or rustic? What kind of chairs are you after? Do you want to have a sweetheart table (my fave) for just the who of you or a head table with the in-laws and best man/woman etc?

The same goes for the crockery, glassware, flowers, lighting, props, music - you get the gist. Write down all you have managed to source, suppliers' names, numbers, cost and come back to it over and over again in case you missed something or changed your mind.

If you need help with checking everything, I offer a wedding consultation where we go over your list and if I will spot anything, I can flag it up. I can also recommend the suppliers if you can't find the right one.

And remember, it takes couples over 200hrs to plan a wedding from start to finish, so don’t leave things too late.

Better still, get a consultation in with me and explore the option of hiring a pro to help you immensely with advice, design, suppliers and coordination. You will only do this once, make sure you do it right.

Fill in the inquiry here and get the ball rolling now.

I cannot wait to talk to you about all things wedding.

Whole Lotta Love,

Zuza x