Posts Categorized: Planning Advice

Best Wedding Apps + Online Resources For Wedding Planning

Posted by & filed under Planning Advice.

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A few weeks ago I was asked to speak ‘On The Sofa’ at the recent Brides The Show wedding fair on planning a wedding online. In this day and age, what with our iPhones as an extension of our right arm, and the fact that payments to asos.com make up 1/3 of your bank statement, there is of course a huge amount of time spent online planning a wedding. Even as a wedding planner I use some invaluable tools that make things more efficient and to help my clients too.

During the session, I spoke with Karen from Smashing The Glass about what we thought were the best wedding apps and online resources to help you along with the wedding planning, so thought it would be useful to outline them here, because I’m nice like that. Sorry it’s a wordy post but hopefully one to bookmark…

B L O G S

Duh, I probably don’t need to say anymore but if you’re reading this, it’s likely you have entered the vortex that is wedding blog world (if not, welcome!), so are probably aware by now that there is a wedding blog for everyone and everything. Whatever your style, budget, location, there’s a blog for it, and then some.

  • They’re free! All that content is there just ready for the taking – use it!
  • They are current, updated on a weekly if not daily basis and most are searchable too.
  • Great for niches, having a London wedding? Ha, yep you’ve come to the right place.
  • Run by individuals so they have a friendly, honest and approachable writing style that publications don’t have.
  • Don’t try and follow ALL the blogs as you’ll get overwhelmed. Stick to those who’s content and style you connect with the most, though if you do have a long list, check out Bloglovin which makes it easier to keep up to date.
  • ‘Real wedding’ features are great for inspiration but also check out the ‘Credits’ where all the suppliers are listed, especially useful if you loved the cake/flowers/photos on a particular feature.
  • Check out a blogs recommended sponsors or suppliers. Whilst they may have paid a fee to be included, they are (from my own experience at least) all very carefully selected and curated to provide you the most creative, professional and relevant companies.
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S O C I A L  M E D I A

Whilst I realise you know this exists, here are a few tips on how to get the most out of it.

FACEBOOK

  • Follow bloggers or bridal publications so you can be kept up to date on all the latest goings on and features. Also useful as there are often competitions, giveaways or events that you may want to know about!
  • If you’re on the dress hunt, follow bridal designers and boutiques. You’ll be the first to know when a new collection is launched, you’ll be able to see ‘real life’ brides for styling ideas and you’ll get to know about any sample sales that may be coming up.
  • Follow or at least check out potential or existing wedding suppliers. They may be too busy to update their websites or blogs but may share images and snippets from recent weddings and events which is great to see and for inspiration.
  • Stay clear of mainstream forum style Facebook groups. Take my word for it.

TWITTER

  • Not sure where to start? Find an influential blogger and check out who they follow, it will lead you to lots of similar interests!
  • Don’t think you have to tweet, I recommend you get a face (not an egg) but you are welcome to lurk.
  • It’s a great networking resource so you’ll instantly be more connected with the ‘wedding world’ and it’s goings on.
  • Make use of the ### search for #makeupartist #savethedate #londonwedding, you get the idea.
  • There’s also #weddinghour every Wednesday from 9-10pm, for all things wedding.  I recommend you log on with a glass of something to be inspired, get advice or ask questions to those in the industry, it’s a friendly helpful community so ask away!

YOUTUBE

  • Great for knowledge and learning! Whether it’s how to perfect a pretty hair-do for your engagement party a feline flick for the big day or diy ombre table cloths, you can learn so much from tutorials which is great if you are a hands-on kind of bride wanting to get into a few craft projects!
  • Open the search into lifestyle areas too such as healthy meals, fitness videos or beauty reviews all which are a great help during the time of planning a wedding.

PINTEREST

  • Starting point is to follow your favourite bloggers or bridal publications.
  • It’s good to think outside the box, don’t just stick to ‘wedding’ images, use lifestyle images, interiors, design as inspiration too.
  • Create boards for different elements of your wedding, e.g. hair styles, flowers, stationery as it will make things less cluttered.
  • Create one master board for all your favourite images that you can edit from the above boards, that way you’ll see it all come together more consistently and not just a mis-match of ideas!
  • It’s a great tool for your suppliers. Share with your wedding planner, take it to your florist and have it to hand at your make up trial.
  • Be realistic with the inspiration, it may look pretty but is it practical and in your budget? Take elements, ideas or colours from the inspiration but don’t expect to be able to re-create everything as you see it as a lot of images are ‘editorially’ set up with lots of budget and time behind them.

INSTAGRAM

  • Instagram is great for following for visual inspiration from your favourite people.
  • Particularly great for fashion, stationery, flowers and hair and make-up.
  • Follow your favourite wedding suppliers (even if they’re not your own!) so you can get ideas be inspired.
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P L A N N I N G

WEDDING WEBSITES & APPS

  • Even if you’re sending out paper invitations, I highly recommend you use in conjunction with a wedding website (or wedsite!)
  • They are a place to store all the details, or ‘particulars’ for your wedding day – the important details that don’t fit on your invites!
  • Most of your wedding party will be online users or app users so makes their life really easy too. For any elderly relatives, best to send them further info in the mail or ask other relatives to provide them with the info.
  • Include details such as travel, accommodation, maps, children, dress codes, gift lists – all in one place!
  • Most have a handy RSVP function too, which is easy for your guests and makes your life a great deal easier too, trust me!
  • There are free templates however they are a little fussy or basic so if you are after something more stylish you may have to pay a small fee but it’s really worth it in my opinion.
  • Take a look at some of my favourites, Riley & Grey,  appy couple and Wedding JoJo
  • If your guests are pretty tech-savvy, Wedding Party app is a private app for you to share and engage with your guests. You invite your guests to join, and as well as adding details about the day (or the day before/day after events) your guests can chat to each other (useful for travel, accommodation or maybe even matchmaking, ha!) and after the wedding day they can all upload their own candid photos to one space for happy memories.

TASKS + TO DO’S

  • If you’re the kind of person who just loves a list, then you’ll want a ‘to do’ list app that you can share with your other half.
  • Check out Teux Deux, a super simple to-do list that you can share, Evernote can log and share ideas, links, articles, photos basically like a notepad on your phone and Trello which is great for all planning areas and assigning tasks, great if you have friends and family members involved as you can update your progress and set deadlines!
  • It goes without saying but I’m not sure a wedding can be planned without some form of spreadsheet! Sign up with google docs to keep a track of budget, timings, contacts, set up ideas and also guest lists and dietary requirements. You can share everything easy and work across your home/work computers, tablets and phones so no saving files and sending documents to yourself.

SEATING PLAN

  • Whilst you can do this the hands-on way with post it notes and a large sheet of paper, believe me – of all the things in the final month of your wedding that you’ll be doing you’ll want anything to make your life easier. Toptableplanner is that. Add in all your guests, meals, dietary requirements and your ideal table layout and just drag and drop. Best £10 you’ll spend on the wedding. You can thank me later.

MUSIC

  • This can often get overlooked but you need to think about your ceremony music (unless it’s a Church wedding), reception background and dinner music, as well as the all important first dance and evening playlist.
  • Spotify is your go-to-app for all the above. Create playlists, search songs, be inspired.
  • I highly advise you to pay for the ‘Premium’ service even if only for a few months, where you can have the playlists stored ‘offline’ so you are free to play your music anywhere at anytime, no wi-fi connection required.
  • Also good to download Shazam for your phone or desktop so if you hear a song when out and about or on the radio that you want to add to your playlists then you’ll be able to find out what it is!
  • Create separate playlists for different parts of the day, or even break them down further e.g.: processional, signing of register, recessional, first dance etc. Then it’s clear for whomever you give the all important job to look after what to play and when!
  • I have a few wedding playlists I’ve put together over the years for wedding receptions, wedding parties and first dances and vintage so if you’re struggling for inspiration, stay tuned as I’ll be posting them up soon!

BOOZE

  • Not particularly software, but Majestic have a very handy website for calculating how much drink, wine or fizz you’ll need for a wedding if you’re purchasing and supplying your own drink.

Phew, hope that’s steered you in the right direction and takes some of the stress out of the planning, and thanks to the lovely crowd who came to visit and see us chat, was great to see you all scribbling away in your notebooks and so nice to have chatted to you afterwards too! See, us bloggers are an approachable bunch, honest!

If you have any other apps or resources that you think are helpful for planning a wedding just drop a comment below, sharing is caring!

KEEP YOUR COOL – TIPS FOR HOT WEATHER WEDDINGS

Posted by & filed under Aisle Style, Planning Advice.

I’m sat here, sweltering with a brain that’s not great at functioning in a top floor flat that must be close to 36 degrees with a giant iMac radiating explosive heat. It’s not pleasant, cold showers and ice cream are my only saviours right now and don’t even get me started about trekking across London for meetings on public transport with people who are clueless about that thing called deodorant. Not pretty.

So I thought i’d jump on this whilst it was fresh [or not so, actually!] with me and give you some of my tips for handling hot weather weddings. Now rather than just providing you with pretty pictures of ice lollies, cute DIY fan ideas and refreshing cocktails I thought it may just be more useful to impart my wisdom as a wedding planner with practical information on having a wedding in the heat rather than just pretty inspiration [although there is a bit of this, as of course, I love that too!].

Chances are, if you are getting married in the UK, planning for a ‘warm’ wedding is somewhat rare and probably quite far from your mind for most of the planning stages. Therefore it may be only in the last week or two that you see that 10 day forecast that you’ve been glued to and have a small freak out that it won’t in fact be rain that you have to worry about, but the unexpected visit from glorious sunshine instead!

Having just done my fair share these past few weeks of weddings in this heat I wanted to give you a few quick and easy tips to think about that can be managed in the last few weeks in the lead up to the big day. Of course if you have a wedding planner or on the day co-ordinator they can help you with these things so you don’t have to [had to get that in there didn't I?!].

StayCool Weddings 0001 KEEP YOUR COOL   TIPS FOR HOT WEATHER WEDDINGS

KIDDYWINKS

If you have invited children, if it’s a venue with outdoor space, hire or buy a gazebo that can be popped up to provide some much needed shade for the bubbas [and the mummas!]. Try Argos or Amazon, it will be £40 well spent and you can decorate them if you so wish with bunting etc and after the wedding, it’ll be great for BBQ’s!

CREAM IT

Buy some small bottles of factor 30-50 suncream from a chemist and just pop them in a basket in the ladies and gents. You really don’t want lobster red guests in your photos and while some may have sensibly applied cream in the morning, it may not fit in their oh so beautiful clutch bag and as the day goes on and they sweat, chances are this will be much needed if you have a lot of outdoor action. Same goes for insect repellant spray!

MADE UP

For your appearance, speak to your make up artist about how to keep your flawless look throughout the heat. Make up artist Lucy Baker advises that sunscreen is very particular to each bride, so it will depend on your skintone which to go for and they do vary as some won’t be great for on-camera either! Lucy advises to stick to a powder with an SPF rather than with the base for less ‘flashback’ on camera [definitely don't want a ghost-like appearance!]. Blotting papers are also a good thing to keep in the handbag [in all weathers in fact!] to keep shine at bay, a favourite of my own which I have in my emergency kit is the blotting sheets [which don't have powder on] by Bobbi Brown.

MELT IN THE MOUTH

Think about the cake! The poor poor cake. The delicious delight can really suffer in this heat, so think about where it can be stored chilled – especially if it’s tall you’ll need either a big fridge or a chill room of some sorts. I wouldn’t advise bringing it out early for show unless it’s in a very well air conditioned area or will get eaten quite quickly. Also be aware if it is cream based as this will definitely need to be stored chilled before serving. Again, do check with your cake maker for their expert advice!

LIGHT LUNCH

Food wise, you may have thought warm dishes such as Beef Wellington were going to be a good idea but speak to your caterers and see if you can offer salad instead of vegetables with it. Or perhaps get ice cream as an addition to go with your dessert. Your guests eating habits will change in the heat and heavy hearty food may not get touched. You’ll need to do this a few days in advance though to ensure they can order in the right quantities of food.

ICE ICE BABY!

Whatever you do, ask your caterer to triple the ice order!

H2O

Water, you need lots of it. Whilst that may sound obvious, rather than waiting for your guests to ask for a glass of water at the bar, ask your bar staff to have some ice cold jugs with cucumber and mint at the bar or on tables constantly topped up for guests to help themselves. Alcohol really dehydrates so you’ll be amazed how much water guests will actually choose to drink to stay hydrated throughout the day and into the evening and if it’s there, for those that are a little less sensible, they’ll be inclined to top up with H20 too if it’s right there.

Think of before the reception, it can get warm in churches or civil ceremony rooms too, or if there’s a long route on a bus, bulk buy mini bottles of water for your ushers to hand out to guests or consider tray service of ice cold orange juice or sparkling water before the ceremony, I wouldn’t advise alcohol at this point!

COOL BOOZE

Jazz up a glass of Prosecco by popping in some frozen raspberries or strawberries. It’s a simple easy thing to do for whoever is looking after the bar and will ensure the bubbles stay nice and chilled for the toast or during the reception.

Another cocktail idea is a little teaspoon of sorbet such as lemon into the bubbles. It’s so refreshing and pretty straightforward for the staff to accommodate.

I’M YOUR BIGGEST FAN

Hire in floor fans, OK so they may not have been included in your budget and they aren’t the prettiest or smallest of items, but believe me when you are rocking the dancefloor for your first dance, you will want to act like Beyonce in a music video with your own personal fan. They will only circulate air but in rooms that don’t have ventilation or air conditioning it’s a welcome relief. Trust me [and it's fun to watch guests behave like Marilyn Monroe!]. You can also tie lace or coloured ribbon to them for fun factor!

DRESS DOWN

Whilst I would always condone trying to keep your budget sensible, if you have a heavily lined or embellished dress or one with long sleeves, you may feel much more comfortable with a second option for switching into the evening. I know it wasn’t in the plan, but a cute white shift dress, or prom style dress could be a saving grace and hey, who doesn’t want a second dress? Hit the high street such as Monsoon, Phase Eight or try online Kitty & Dulcie who have some super cute and good value short wedding dresses or search vintage shops for a pretty ivory/white dress.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Be prepared to be flexible with your timings. You may decide it’s just too hot outdoors for a long drinks reception, or that you need some break out time after dinner for guests to get some fresh air. Keep in touch with your wedding co-ordinator (or venue manager!) depending on how your guests are feeling after all you want happy guests!

PHOTO PERFECT

Whilst we all shout ‘hurrah, it’s sunny’ – photographer’s often sigh as bright sunshine isn’t actually that great to shoot in. It inevitbly makes guests squint, it causes harsh light on subjects and it’s generally harder to shoot into as it causes strong shadows. Trust your photographer on what they advise for your portrait photos and where to have them. You may be surprised that they choose something a bit shadier rather than that beautiful open field you had in mind! You will also want to keep them as short as possible so it’s worth again being flexible and doing a few quick shots and family portraits after the ceremony and then to go back out after dinner [for 'golden' hour light] romantic portraits which is a great opportunity and still means you get quality time for photographs.

Hope that’s helped a little for those about to get married this week – always good to have a plan B and hopefully the above are useful and stress free tips on how to handle the hot weather! If you have any top tips of how to stay cool, do share them!

Photo Credits Clockwise From Top Left: Katie Gardner Photography via Style Me Pretty / Mel Wilde Photography / Portraits by Lucinda via Elizabeth Anne Designs / Polly Alexandre Photography via Rock N’ Roll Bride / Gabrielle Kai via Patchwork Harmony / I go by Katie