Hi all,

Thanks for checking in and hope you’re all safe in this on/off storm we seem to be having in St Lucia. This is perfect weather to snuggle up and watch a movie, or if you’re like me, have a mass clear out of those cupboards, closets and drawers you’ve been promising yourself you’ll do for months now. I am often described as OCD, and like the house neat and tidy at all times. Since having the baby and especially now he’s darting around in his walker, I find myself near hyperventilating daily when I see my white throw pillows strewn across the floor or my perfectly aligned photo frames scattered around the room.

We have just received our first signed contract back for a wedding job, very excited and looking forward to working with this lovely bride and groom. They have a clear vision of what they want but are willing to listen to ideas and take advice…my favourite kind of client. So for my first “proper” blog post, lets discuss how to get the ball rolling once you’re engaged, and starting to plan your big day.

Firstly you need to decide the venue, and if possible the budget. The budget will influence a majority of the decisions and having at the very least a ballpark figure at this stage is essential. This can come later in the process if you’re lucky enough to have more flexibility where finances are concerned. Next comes the big question of “Where?”- You may have already set your heart on your dream venue and simply need to contact them to find a suitable date. Do you want to stay local and perhaps marry at your parents’ house where you grew up? Perhaps you want to go an hour or two away to allow guests an overnight stay, or the big one- a destination wedding (aka abroad).. If you narrow it down to a specific category, but decide to attend viewings to make the final decision, my advice is that you go to them all, even if you fall in love with the first one you see. Now is such an exciting time, and its easy to get carried away and sign a dotted line when the next venue may have been even better! Attend all of your venues as planned. Try and do this in as short of a time frame as possible to ensure youre comparing them fairly and all are fresh in your mind when coming away to make a decision. It also means that if one really takes your fancy, you’ll most likely be able to hold the date temporarily whilst you look at the others.

Now time to pin down a date if you haven’t already done so. The venue will somewhat determine the date as you will be considering the weather, seasonal costs and other such factors, especially if going abroad, where you need to consider airfares and hotel costs which vary throughout the year.

Once you have the How (budget), When (date) and Where (venue) confirmed you can start to get into the more intricate details including colour& theme, (which will also be influenced by your venue… after all a pink princess theme wont work in a rustic old barn), guestlist, wedding party and other such details. If you’re asking people to travel any kind of distance, let them know early! They will appreciate the notice and have the best chance of being able to attend. For my own wedding abroad I didn’t want to notify people by phone, text or email, so I setup a wedding website on appycouple with travel and accommodation details, which was edited later to provide information about the island, things to do and the events leading upto the wedding itself. It was also made available as an app at no extra cost.

Finally, you need to decide if you’re going to take on the planning yourself, or if you will be using a wedding planner.

Many venues – especially hotels- provide you with a dedicated planner, but PLEASE make sure you ask to see photos of their previous work and some feedback from previous clients. There are many talented and passionate planners, but some (by their own admission) are venue sales reps who get lumbered with the job of looking after the client once they’ve sold them the room. A true “planner” will happily provide all information and answer any questions you have, they understand the importance of your big day. If you’re made to feel uncomfortable or that you’re being annoying, I’d advise one of 3 things:

1-doing most of it yourself – if time allows

2-delegate to a trusted family member

or

3-if budget allows, hire a wedding planner

With all of these options, it is VITAL that the venue representative is kept in the loop. There is no point spending a year planning your dream day to walk into the venue and see nothing you wanted because the venue had no information.

I was hoping to provide you with the 5 best wedding planning tools for a DIY wedding but since we have the worlds slowest internet service for now, that will have to be my next blog post instead.

Have a beautiful week, stay safe in the rain St Lucia and see you next time,

Love Always,

Charlie

xox