How to plan a wedding

By Erin Lovich

Wedding planner Erin Lovich shares her top tips to ensure your big day is memorable - for the right reasons!

Creating a unique and memorable wedding day is a cinch when you leave it to the wedding planner. Photo / Supplied
Creating a unique and memorable wedding day is a cinch when you leave it to the wedding planner. Photo / Supplied

There aren't many other occasions in life where we invest more time, energy and budget on one single day. When else do we think as far in advance of so many finer details. There is SO much potential in a wedding, no matter what the budget. And some stand out from the rest.

Here are a few tips and ideas I've pulled together from my experience as a wedding planner that will help give you a perspective on how you could create a unique and memorable wedding day, both you and your guests will never forget.

1. Personality trumps Tradition.
Break the rules. It's your day and you don't have to follow a formula. Don't book the venue before you've established the type and format of your wedding. Is it a full sit-down meal, a picnic, an intimate affair somewhere secluded, a brunch, cocktail party or a traditional service in a church? Have fun and think outside the square. Gone are the days of cookie-cutter weddings; make the day all about you by setting the style and scene early on.

2. Style
Style your wedding as you would your home. It should feel personal. Develop a plan with imagery and reference - it should be one of the first things you do. Collect the things that you love - ideas, colours, favourite pieces and weave them all together to create an overall theme. Incorporate the theme right from the beginning within Save the Dates and Invitations and work the colour palette and design right through to the smallest details on the day. Be sure to pick a style that connects with the format and location of your wedding ... and have fun with it.

3. It's all in the detail
Little thoughtful details will stand out on the day, and they don't have to blow the budget. Skip the favours and spend more time on small details within the day. This way, you'll be able to create surprise and delight moments for your guests. Package wedding cake slices into little take-home boxes for the journey home or invest in beautiful letterpress. If outdoor in summer, you could make the order of service programmes into fans, or print on to little paper bags filled with confetti or petals. Female guests always love a basket of jandals for high heel relief just when aching feet need to hit the dancefloor. And pashmina shawls for when it gets colder. Buying online can be a great way to hunt down small treasures to complement your day or better still, DIY. Getting crafty adds a unique and personal touch to your big day no matter the size and scale of your event.

4. Write your own vows
Whether they are tear-jerkers or light-hearted, they set the tone for the whole wedding and make everyone feel part of something special. If you don't feel confident reading your own vows, write a snippet about each other to be read by the celebrant and opt for traditional vows. It'll be one of the most heartfelt, sentimental things you do and there won't be a dry eye in the house.

5. Photography
Prioritise and invest in it. Photography that documents the day and captures emotion. Candid and real shots. Identify a style you like and choose a photographer who meshes with that. When the day is over, this will be your physical memory of the day... don't risk skimping on it.

6. Music
Live music will definitely create atmosphere, but it doesn't always need to be in the form of a covers band at the end of the night. Incorporate live music into your ceremony during the signing of the register or choose a band during cocktail hour before dinner that reflects your style or may be a point of difference. Centre your day around personal song choices and have fun with it - choosing a first dance song that gets everyone up on the dance floor can be a great way to get the party started.

7. Let there be light
Lighting can be easy to overlook, but adds to the ambience and creates a mood on the day. If done properly, it can be one of the most effective details that transforms a pretty space into a stunning one. From tealight votives to luminaire bags and festoon lights - options to create beautiful romantic ambience are endless.

8. Food
Food can be another area to get creative. Relate it back to the style of the wedding and ensure it is lip-smackingly good. But whether your menu is three courses and enough to earn a Michelin Star, or a food truck serving incredible tacos to create a casual buzz, make sure you cater well.

9. Peace of mind
Work with people you trust and share your vision. A wedding planner can be a great resource to help with styling, vendor recommendations, timing plans, logistics and budget management. They'll know where to get 200m of ribbon and who does the best cupcakes. Most planners offer a range of planning, styling and co-ordinating services which can be tailored to budget requirements. At least have a day-of co-ordination person because it means you will feel like a guest at your own wedding, which is a great way to be able to relax and enjoy the day.

10. Love is all you need.
Remember why you are doing this. At ALL times! It can be easy to get caught up in all the details during the planning process. Keep love at the heart of your day and it will set the tone for everything else, rain or shine! Make sure you take a moment to step back and soak it all in!

LITTLE BLACK BOOK

* Luxurious venue or accommodation: Lavender Hill

* Cute detail: The Pretty Baker

* Stationery Design: Cottonwood Studio

* Letterpress Printing: Magpie Press

* Lighting: La Lumiere

* Photographers:

Kate Macpherson

Samm Blake

* Erin Lovich is a wedding planner and event stylist.

- NZ Herald

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