When planning your wedding, there are things that are nice to know and there are things that you need to know, advice that is so helpful you'll be thankful you heard it! Whilst at times during the planning you will undoubtedly feel overwhelmed, just remember the reason why you're doing it...breath and smile.

Firstly, get a grip on your numbers before looking at venues, you'll then know the type and size of venue you need and if it can accommodate your party size – and plans! Don't just think about the number of guests; think about the dancefloor, DJ and band, the experience of the day etc. as space for guests to move is so important.

Try to decide on your date as an early priority to ensure guests that you really want to be in attendance are available, remembering that people often book holidays a year in advance. Think also of national and local events and how they can impact on your day; the Football World Cup Final clashing with your day and ceremony time is not going to be popular with many of your guests and possibly the groom?

Thinking locally can take the potential stress out of wedding planning; trusted local suppliers who are often recommended by other suppliers can give you a peace of mind you often can't achieve from a website. A trusted wedding photographer will often know of a great local florist whose flowers are always fresh, creative and look as good at the end of the day as they did at the start. Vendors genuinely recommending other vendors can be a great source of knowledge, but always do some research and meet your suppliers face-to-face to ensure it is a genuine recommendation that you're happy with. Sourcing locally also ensures that dress fittings or planning sessions can be easily accommodated in your diary and any last minute requests and hiccups are easily sorted. Never be afraid to ask for something different; it's your day and a quality vendor will always rise to the challenge or meet you half way!

Everyone at some point in their life will have had an idea of what their big day would look like; granted that can change over time, but consider a venue that can carry your theme, as trying to radically change a venue with decor and accessories can eat into your budget. Also check their policy with regards to who else has access to the venue on the day; will there be a second wedding in another area of the venue, as if so, bedroom availability for your guests may be compromised and the bridal suite already taken. Use their wedding planner if it's included in their service, an extra pair of hands and the knowledge of what can be achieved can only add to your day.

As a rule, half of your budget will go towards food and drink, so the easiest way to cut your budget is to cut down your guest list! Be strong, distant cousins who you never see versus extra money for that flower wall...well let's just say that the flower wall makes a perfect backdrop and never complains about the menu!

Getting organised really is key, from different files for correspondence and a dedicated wedding email address to making a decision about your policy for children on the day (don't be afraid to say if your day doesn't accommodate children – it's your day), clarity on decisions and answers keeps future stress to a minimum.

There really is so much to decide and to do when planning a wedding, so make use of your support team – that's the bridesmaids, best man and ushers – and delegate the not so critical jobs…they'll only be too happy to support you.

Our Live 24-Seven columnist Susanna Richardson of Everything Organised Luxury Events has organised weddings and parties for a variety of clients to include many well-known celebrities. Her humorous, sweary, yet extremely helpful take on the planning process can be found in her book The Honest Planner, for details visit

In this issue we have a wealth of local suppliers and venues that can help complete your day and remember, sourcing locally brings many advantages...



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