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Posts Tagged ‘planning tips’

Alternative Wedding Registry Ideas

Gone are the days when couples walk around with laser guns in department stores tagging high balls, plates, pots, and pans. Most couples cohabitate these days and are therefore equipped with the necessary household items. So what do you do when it comes to registering your wedding? You could tell your guests to just bring themselves and send their best wishes – but we all know that won’t happen! Purchasing a gift is a traditional part of a wedding so below I’ve listed some modern ideas to the single department store gift registry:

alternative wedding gift list
Lloyd Dobbie Photography

A gift registry for your Honeymoon!

Guests can contribute towards air fares, dinners, nights out, elephant rides, scuba dives, whatever you have planned on your romantic getaway!  Most of our brides and grooms are opting for this type of registry as the Honeymoon is a holiday you will never forget.

A gift registry to re-design your home

A handful of companies are offering interior design gift lists so the couple can start their married life with a fresh look to their home. Guests can buy pieces from the leg of a sofa to a chandelier to wall paint. If I could go back in time I would sign up for this!

alternative wedding gift list ideas
via JLD Designs

A one stop shop gift list

I came across a company called The Bottom Drawer who offers couples a gift registry where they can pick and choose a mixture of gifts from multiple vendors. This might be money towards a new home, a massage on the Honeymoon, upgraded household items, or even cash gifts. There are fees to host your site here but the convenience usually outweighs these nominal fees. 

Charity lists

If you truly have everything you want, or you’d like to raise money for a Charity, then set up a registry for your guests to donate to a Charity of your choice. You can organise your list by visiting the Charity’s website or going to Give It.

wedding gift list ideas
via All Wedding Party

10 Tips to Cut Catering Costs

You should budget around 45%-50% of your overall wedding budget on catering. No matter what type of wedding you have or what time of day it’s held at, guests will expect food and beverages.  Most couples opt for a 3-course sit down meal but I’ve also seen buffets, stand up cocktail receptions, and more informal versions of the sit down meal. Most couples are now offering canapes, a main meal, and an evening buffet so this can really blow the budget if you’re trying to spend wisely. Catering is not cheap so see 10 tips on saving catering fees below.

cut catering fees
Lloyd Dobbie Photography

Top 10

1. Save your meat for the main dish and serve vegetarian canapes and starters. Try risotto served in shot glasses, vegetarian rice rolls, or a trio of asparagus

2. Cut out the starter course by offering more canapes during the drinks reception and this will save on crockery, cutlery, equipment, and staff.

3. Unless you and your guests are champagne connoisseurs, opt for cava, prosecco, or English sparkling wine to add a bit of luxury without the price tag. Most guests won’t know the difference. I personally prefer cava over the other two (when champagne isn’t offered, of course!).

4. Replace the first course with a selection of breads and dipping oils

5. Serve wedding cake as your dessert. You will save so much money doing this, and guests will actually eat your cake! If you serve a dessert and then offer wedding cake, you will have a lot of leftovers.

6. Serve your food “family style” meaning 3-4 dishes come out for the starter in which guests serve themselves, then you see the same for the main course. This allows for a formal seated dinner with an informal service and cheaper price tag.

7. If you’re having an evening buffet, you don’t need to cater to all your guests as only a small percentage will eat at that time. I normally see less than half of guests touch the evening buffet.

8. Serve the expensive drinks (bubbly, specialty cocktails) early in the day so guests can remember them and enjoy the taste. Towards the end of the evening I always see half full glasses being left around the room which always go to waste. Guests leave their glass on a table then forget which one is theirs, or they set it down to use the loo then a waiter picks it up before they return. To avoid waste on expensive items, serve these early on.

9. Add a bit of luxury to your presentation by dropping raspberries into your bubbly, or adding small slices of cucumber and orange into each water glass. Presentation is everything and a small touch makes a major impact.

10. Serve cold canapes and a cold starter. Hot dishes require more equipment which means more cost. Also, if you’re running behind on time, you don’t need to worry about food coming out cold. Win/win!

bowl-of-cherries
via SMP

Last minute tasks

Your vendors are booked, the payments have been made, now you’re in the final weeks before the wedding. There are some obvious tasks you still need to complete like finalising the guest list, chasing dietary requirements, creating a table plan, sending “must takes” to your photographer, etc, but there are other tasks that aren’t so obvious that are just as important. Below is small selection of the tasks you should complete the week before your wedding:

wedding planner london

Last minute tasks

  • Start writing a list of items you need to bring to the venue. Put this list on the refrigerator so you can write something down the moment you think of it. Items may include guest book, pens, table plan, escort cards, gifts, and so on.
  • Ask your venue event coordinator when your vendors have access to the venue on the wedding day. Also ask when they need to clear out equipment. This is essential information for you to pass onto your wedding team
  • Arrange a time to drop off and collect your items from the venue
  • Go through your signed contracts to see which vendors require a meal on the day. Approach each vendor to ask them about their dietary requirements then pass on the information to your caterer.
  • Decide where you want the wedding cake.  Make sure you have a good backdrop for photographs
  • Discuss who will be your Emcee. Your Emcee will announce movement of guests, announce the bride and groom into the dining room, announce cutting of the cake and first dance. The MC can be the best man, the wedding planner (me!), the head waiter, or a professional toastmaster.
  • Come up with a detailed ceremony procession and procession. Who’s walking who down the aisle and in what order?
  • Where will your guest book be placed? If a table is required ask your venue or caterer to provide this
  • Decide what you want waiters to do in the event that guests ask for drinks not being served.
  • Tell your caterer if you plan on keeping the top tier of the cake
  • Think about transportation in great detail and make sure no one is left without a ride. Do any of the cars require a reserved parking space?
  • Talk to each person giving a speech to let them know how long the speech should be and what the tone should be like. Your food is prepared based on the timings you provide the chef so if speeches are overrun then your food may come out cold or even overcooked. It’s very important to stick to your timings and make sure each speaker is aware of this.
  • Where will honour attendants and guests sit during the ceremony? Do you want RESERVED signs?

This list is not inclusive of last minute wedding tasks.

Let me know what tasks you’re running into in the countdown to your wedding. I’d love to hear from you!

Event lighting

Event lighting is the true mood setter for any event. A well thought out lighting plan can re-create the room and change the entire ambiance. You have many lighting choices when it comes to lighting your venue so it’s best to work with a lighting professional as they’ll have the expertise and technical know-how. Event lighting can take you back into time, it can take you into the future, it can create any type of atmosphere you may wish to achieve. It’s a very important element to a big celebration and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.. You may wish to have your guests enter the venue through a tunnel of fairy lights leading to the grand ballroom or you may wish to have amber lit walls for a magical evening.  Your dance floor can have a customised stencil with your monogram lit in the centre, also known as a gobo. Lighting options are endless, so speak to the experts!

event lighting in london
Preston Bailey
event lighting london
source unknown
wedding lighting
JW Marriott
event lighting
Darin Fong

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