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Diary of a wedding planner: Part 5

24 Aug 2016

In her fifth entry, wedding planner Marie Haverly, of Isabella Weddings Planning & Consultancy, discusses how to plan your wedding like a pro

Image gallery

Image gallery

As a wedding planner, I would be the first to say that hiring a professional planner or co-ordinator to execute all your wedding day plans is a must, but of course this might not be possible or practical for your wedding. So I wanted to share with you some of my top tips and advice for getting ready before the big day so that you can arrive stress-free and ready to celebrate. After all, even the best ‘relaxed and chilled’ weddings still need precise management and planning to make sure they don’t look planned and managed.

When I meet a couple to chat about their day we tend to talk through all the details in the order in which they happen. I find this helps me and them to focus on how the day might unfold. I take with me a checklist and then ask them to tell me everything. So you can do this too (in fact it works for packing for a holiday, too); sit down with your partner and imagine you are just arriving on your wedding day, what do you need? Hair and make-up items, clothes, breakfast, bubbly, gifts for bridesmaids etc. Then imagine yourself as a guest, what do you see when you arrive? Balloons and ribbons on the church gate maybe (write those down), how are they tied on? Do you need to weigh them down, how many do you need, do you need scissors to cut them off afterwards and so on….


What you are doing is taking a walk through the day, piece by piece, and making notes so nothing gets forgotten. When you have finished, look through your list; if you have candles then you need matches, if you have a camera then it needs batteries etc – try to think about every eventuality so that you don’t forget anything on the big day.

Can you ask for help? I promise you that you will not want to lay tables or sprinkle confetti when you should be getting into your gown, or be in a hot marquee when you should be having a sip of bubbly. This is your chance to see your hard work unfold and if you can ask someone to help then do so, after all, setting up the decorations and props is the fun bit so I don’t think you’ll be short of a few helpers here. 

Setting up a marquee from scratch can take around three hours or more depending on what you have included in your decoration and styling plan, so make sure you allow for this extra time or find someone (or employ someone) to do this for you. This is precious time and you won’t want to rush through this bit. Plus, as the decoration and set up takes place you will be flooded with early guests, suppliers dropping off stuff and questions being asked by venue and catering staff, my advice would be to avoid all of this and let someone else handle this for you.


Let me share some top tips for getting to the big day stress-free and with plenty of time to spare:

1. Unwrap and take labels off everything

You’ll be amazed how much time it takes to unwrap candles or snip tags off jars.

2. Place tea-lights in jars all ready

Put string or wire on pom poms, blue tac on to decorations and write your signs early. All of this will mean less time spent on the day fiddling with these little pieces.

3. Make a box up per table

Put in here table name holders, table cards, place cards (in order of who is sitting where) candles and favours etc. So that if you do have to hand this job over to someone on the day, they can have everything to hand for each table.

4. Set up a table at home

...as you would like it to be on your wedding day. Take a picture and write instructions on the back – again if someone takes this task on for you in a hurry, they can see how you want things to look.

Most of all, however, make sure you know how long things will take to do. If you want to hand tie all your 175 favours then get the girls over a month before and do this together. Setting the scene for your day takes time and if you don’t have someone to help, then you might find yourself rushed, so make sure you ask for help when you can and be prepared beforehand like a planning pro.

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