Planning A Wedding, Step 1: Where To Start

A wedding day should be the most important day of any couple’s life and something that you should relish, so don’t let the planning put you off. We understand it can be a daunting prospect, especially as most people have little experience of organising an event for dozens, if not hundreds, of guests. But you should be able to enjoy the journey as much as the day itself, so we’re here to make the planning as painless and smooth as possible.

To make it more manageable, we’ve launched a special series of posts aimed at providing you with a detailed plan and breaking down the process into eight manageable chunks, followed by the ultimate wedding planning checklist.

Whatever your role in planning a wedding, whether you’re the happy couple planning your own big day, doting friends or family helping your loved ones, or starting out in your own wedding planning career, this guide aims to take you through each key stage, helping you make decisions, prioritise and complete the tasks essential for successfully planning the dream day. We want to make sure your wedding is well planned, within budget and, believe it or not, enjoyable to organise.

Of course, this being an event planning and management blog, we will be sticking to the things that fall within our expertise, we’ll be leaving other aspects such as choosing the dress, make-up, hair, gift list and the rings to those who know better.

Getting started

Couple getting ready to organise their wedding_opt The proposal may have been nerve-wracking enough, but the thought of organising everything from scratch when it comes to the reality of actually planning a wedding can sometimes be enough to force anyone to abandon their hopes of a white wedding and run off to Gretna Green instead. But never fear, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.

Once you’ve broken the news to parents, family and close friends, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty to start building the foundations of your big day. Start off with solid planning foundations and everything else will run a lot more smoothly.

#1 – Set the date

Set the date In many fields of work, setting a deadline can really help focus the mind, and it is no different when planning a wedding. This should be one of your first priorities because it will give you a clear timeframe and will also mean you’ll be able to get accurate costs from suppliers and check the availability for venues and facilities rather than working hypothetically.

Of course, it is not always just a case of plucking a date out of the air, in some cases there may be aspects that you’ll need to consider first, such as fitting around work commitments, availability of any particular venue you have in mind, and liaising with special guests such as parents, best friends and anybody needing to travel far. This may mean that you’ll need to come back to this point later, but start thinking about a date and get one in the diary as soon as you can.

When choosing a date

Ensure that you allow enough time for preparations and, if needed, time to save up.

Previously, legal requirements restricted the times of weddings and civil ceremonies in most of the UK to between 8am and 6pm, but these restrictions were scrapped in England and Wales in October 2012, and no such restrictions are in place in Scotland (similar changes are yet to be introduced in Northern Ireland).

However, it is worth noting that even though the law has changed, many local authorities and religious groups may still only conduct ceremonies during the traditional times and they cannot be forced to host a wedding outside of these hours, so if you want an evening or nighttime ceremony, make sure you choose a venue that is willing to accommodate this.

For maximum turnout, it may be best to avoid popular times of the year when guests are likely to book holidays and also check the calendar for event dates in your area, such as festival dates, major sporting events and school holidays. You don’t want to be saying your vows in front of an empty venue because the guests are stuck in Glastonbury traffic on the motorway.

However, it is also important to remember that this is your day and when choosing a date it is almost impossible to please everybody.

#2 – Create a wedding folder

Messy office without filling Don’t let wedding planning take over. Start as you mean to go on by being organised from the beginning and create a ‘wedding file’ on your computer, which will include everything about your wedding.

Take advantage of modern software tools and cloud computing

Try getting a  Dropbox account (it’s free), which is an online folder stored in the cloud, meaning you and your partner will be able to access it from any computer or mobile device. You can also download a copy of the folder onto your desktop so you’ll have the files saved to your computer too which will be automatically kept in sync when changes are made or documents are added. Once it is set up you can use it to quickly save and store anything useful you come across on the web, such as these essential eventjuice wedding planning guides!

There are also a host of other online tools which can help you stay organised, such as Google Apps for storing and sharing documents, Evernote for collecting links and jotting down notes on your computer, laptop or mobile, or even Pinterest for collating inspirational images.

Set up a dedicated wedding folder in your email account too and you can use this to save all the important emails relating to the wedding, especially things like quotes and confirmations from suppliers.

#3 – Put together the wedding budget

Couple with their wedding money It is impossible to start planning your wedding without knowing your budget, so you’ll need to get a provisional figure together as a priority. The idea that the bride’s father pays for everything is old-fashioned, and these days it is usually a family affair with the bride and groom contributing the majority, especially if both are working.

Find out contributions

The first thing to do is find out how much everybody is willing or able to contribute towards the day. It may feel a bit embarrassing talking about money, especially so early on, but there is little point in contacting venues or suppliers that are out of your price range, and you won’t be able to settle on anything unless you know for sure how much you have to spend.

Some couples choose to go it alone to avoid family arguments about who should be invited to the day – after all, it’s harder to not invite your dad’s brother who you haven’t seen for 10 years if your father is paying for everything.

Once you have an idea of how much everybody is going to contribute, create a spreadsheet with your budget, compile a list of expenses and keep track of any financial activities here, so you can see how much you’ve spent and what is left to play with. Some couples choose to open a separate wedding bank account too.

Allocate the budget

If you have no idea how much some things will cost, allocate the budget by what’s most important to you and your partner, and then compare it to the average wedding budget to see if your budget is realistic.

According to UKWeddingBelles, the average wedding will cost £16,164 in 2013, here’s a breakdown of where the money goes:

The average UK wedding budget in 2013 Stationery – £320 Stag and hen nights – £318 Insurance – £122 The service – £520 Wedding rings – £640 Flowers – £680 Reception decor – £500 The bride’s outfit – £1,300 Hair and beauty – £195 The groom’s outfit – £180 Attendant’s outfits – £360 Transport – £290 Photography – £1,080 Videography – £875 Venue, including food and drinks – £4,600 Entertainment – £560 Wedding cake – £290 Gifts – £134 Honeymoon and first night hotel – £3,200 TOTAL – £16,164 (Source: UKWeddingBelles)

Of course, the above list is just based on averages and there may be significant differences if, say for example, you may prefer to spend more on entertainment and less on food. Rather than just changing your spreadsheet, think about creative ways that you could save money on the food. Don’t be afraid of going down the DIY route for parts of your wedding either, this is increasingly popular and can really add to the personal nature of your big day and should not be seen as a bad thing.

#4 – Announce your engagement

Couple engaged You’ll want to let everybody know that you’re engaged, so you might want to get on the blower and tell people about it. Or, alternatively, organise an engagement party, dinner or drinks to celebrate the fact that you are getting married. You may also wish to announce your engagement in the local newspapers.

Next steps:

In the next post we’ll take a look at putting together the guest list and roles in the wedding: Step 2: People Involved in a Wedding.

In the meantime, do you have any suggestions, insights, recommendations or great places to visit? Please share and let us know in the comments below and we’re always keen to hear on what you would like covered in future posts too.

About Us:

Set in 11 acres of private gardens within Regent’s Park, Regent’s  College Conference Centre offers a truly unique wedding venue in Central London.

From a lavish wedding reception to a small intimate dinner we can offer you a unique and unforgettable experience. Beautiful lawns, formal gardens and stunning lakes surround the college offering a peaceful haven in the heart of the city.

Our indoor space can accommodate up to 90, and we also have our Gardens available up to 500.

Please contact us for further information 

 

Team Building Options for City the Event Organiser

Team building days are a great way to bond your employees and get the best out of your colleagues. London has always been a hot spot for these types of events; it’s where many corporate clients are based after all. This has often created challenges for organisers because, for many activities, people have needed to travel out to a site. 10 years ago people would travel one and a half hours if they were attending a two day conference.Plus, in recent years the time allocated for events has decreased –  two day events at a country hotel may not be possible therefore the one day event has increased with popularity and with that the type of venue.

A trend for half day events specifically for team building began a couple of years before the recession of 2008 and the cut backs which followed, combined with a tendency to focus on single objectives, firmly entrenched this trend. Now team building events are often held specifically for that purpose and may last for just half a day. This presents a challenge for many city based companies who may need a venue with ample outdoor facilities that is conveniently located. Regent’s Conference Centre in Regent’s Park work with a range of leading teambuilding companies to create packages that enhance team development, improve group relationships and increase performance. Our four acres of York Lawns are the perfect setting for any event. We can organise marquees for groups of up to 500 guests and our brilliant in-house caterers can provide all cuisine from a banquet to a barbecue. Please contact us if you would like further information on our packages and prices.Team building Activity, Regent's College Conference Centre

 

A Guide to Tented Events

Event Solutions the premier national trade magazine for  event and meeting professionals. recently divulged attendees at the 2013 Idea Factory in some top secret tips for producing a successful tented event.

If you have ever considered putting on an event that requires a tent or marquee ( visit our Pinterest page for inspiration on how good these events can look) this informative guide takes you through the fundamentals of tent set up and décor.

Click here to read the article.

Mad hatter Marquee, Regent's Park London

Mad hatter Marquee, Regent’s Park London

 

Art at Regent’s : Gillian Luff & Emerald Dunne

The Knapp Gallery in Regent’s Park showcases contemporary art in conjunction with Artgallery.co.uk. This month the gallery is proud to present the work of Gillian Luff and Emerald Dunne. Below both arts reflect on their her careers and inspirations behind their work.

Gillian Luff

I then moved to the beautiful Isle of Anglesey where I discovered my passion for mountains, clouds and seascapes. Since then I haven’t stopped painting. I have collectors of my art work from many countries and from many walks of life.

My art is mainly contemporary and all about the sea, space, mountains, clouds, movement, fluidity and the force of nature, whether it be a tranquil seascape, vibrant nebula in space or an apocalyptic ocean.

I paint only in the best quality artists oils and use quality stretched canvas made from 100% cotton or linen. Whenever possible I use sustainably resourced wooden frames which are not only good for the environment but they are extremely stable and resistant to warping. The finished art work then has several coats of exhibition varnish added for protection. The artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity.

I am proud to have received Artgallery’s highest accolade for sales and reliability and am now one of their best selling artists.

Emerald Dunne

My background is in stained glass and I run my own business. I studied at the University of the Arts in London from where I have a BA (Hons) in Public Art and Design. While living in Japan, I began to explore painting and held three exhibitions of my work. Like many western visitors, I had expected to encounter a blend of the traditional and the innovative. I was keen to capture the colours that I saw there: the bright blue of a metallic mobile phone, the red and gold of a kimono.

The work that I started in Japan depicts circles, the default shape of the universe. Electrons revolve around neutrons as stars spin around star systems. Life could also be described as circular. We often come back to the same points time and time again, hopefully with more knowledge and experience. I find Buddhist belief in reincarnation an interesting idea and one which I found particularly inspiring when visiting Koyasan, a major centre of Buddhist practice and belief near Osaka in Japan. Since returning to the UK I have incorporated Japanese kanji (writing) into my work, using vibrant Japanese chiyogami paper to augment my paintings. I am also working towards bringing aspects of my own Celtic culture into my work such as lettering. In addition gold was a familiar player in ancient Celtic arts and crafts as was the circle, chiming as it does and did with the seasons and concept of life renewing itself time after time.

I also run children’s workshops in schools exploring glass art in a safe way, often replacing glass itself with coloured gels if the participants are too young to handle the real thing. In the future I hope to study for an MA in either Fine Art or Architectural Glass.

These artists are currently on show at The Knapp Gallery, Regent’s Park, London, from the 14th of April. Viewings by appointment, please ring 01666 505152 to arrange.

Titian 1 by Gillian Luff

Titian 1 by Gillian Luff

dream-by-emerald-dunne.jpg

dream-by-emerald-dunne.jpg

 

What makes a great team building event?

  • A team building event needs to be fun so that everyone can engage in activities and throw themselves into the tasks.
  • A great team building event tests key skills in a more relaxed environment that still relates to the participant’s role within the workplace. For example, an ‘Apprentice’ style event which includes various business tasks to test key skills such as communication, teamwork, delegations, pitching and presentation.
  • It’s really important that the event engages everyone from all age ranges and demographics. Not all groups will have people who are able to do particularly physical activities so if an event can appeal to all involved it will be more successful. An event that includes physical, mental and creative challenges will appeal to a larger group.
  • A great team building activity should achieve all of its objectives. For example, whether it’s a laid back “reward activity” such as Wine Tasting or Life Drawing to acknowledge great performance or a highly facilitated team development workshop, the event should match the company’s goals.
  • Last but not least, a great team building event should be memorable. In order for employees to take their experience back to the workplace and be able to reflect back positively the event needs to have the “fun factor”, appeal to all attending, encompass company objectives, and  test key skills that can be applied in the workplace.

Regent’s College Conference Centre offers perfect outdoor spaces for team building events in Central London.

We can cater for all sorts of different activities from it’s a knock out style activities to cup-cake making workshops. 

We work with a range of leading teambuilding companies to create packages that enhance team development, improve group relationships and increase performance.

Team building Activity, Regent's College Conference Centre

Team building Activity, Regent’s College Conference Centre

Location: Choosing the Right Venue for your Event

Selecting the right venue is one of the most important factors in producing a successful event. It needs to serve it’s purpose logistically, drive attendance, and ideally leave a lasting memory in your colleagues and delegates minds!

Recently we covered Venues.org.uk  top 10 tips for choosing a meeting or conference venue and location was at the top of their list.

So what are the key steps in making sure you secure the right location for your event? .

Ask yourself, where your delegates are travelling from and by what method. For example, if they are coming from all areas of the country and by various modes of transport, you will need to find a venue that is easily accessible by road and train and that is pretty central.

Located within 11 acres of private grounds, Regent’s College Conference Centre is a unique venue in the heart of London. Offering a selection of meeting rooms equipped with the latest technology and fabulous outdoor event space, all of your event needs can be catered for.

With a selection of rooms available all year round, it is an ideal venue for meetings, training, conferences, weddings and summer parties. The Conference Centre is easily accessible by road or public transport, is outside of the congestion zone and has car parking available. 

Visit our website for to arrange a site visit, contact us or for more information about Regent’s College Conference Centre.

Marquee Event, Regent's College, London