With our Wedding just around the corner (literally just over a week away eeek!!) I thought i'd do a little Q&A post about Wedding planning (I put it out to Instagram and got some great questions - thank you to everyone who asked!) and also write a bit about our experience planning a wedding abroad as it's one of those things that can be a bit tricky to navigate.
I wrote a post last year about the early stages and had planned to do a few more posts in the lead up but, like with everything, time has completely run away with me and May has come round FAR quicker than I planned! So, I hope this one can fill in some gaps since the last post and offer some tips and tricks to anyone feeling at all out of their depth and overwhelemd by the process which, believe me, I completely understand.
Q: Is a destination wedding harder to plan because its not local?
This is quite hard to say because it's the only one i've planned! But I think all wedding need a similar amount of planning as there are certain timelines you need to work to. The venue is definitely the most important thing to secure, we booked ours in Feburary 2018 for May 2019 and there was already a pelimenary booking on that date but luckly they dropped out so we got the date we wanted. When planning a destination wedding make sure you do research into the different venues availble before booking or if you do find somehwere you love straight away, you can always put your names to secure the date whilst you look at others, most venues will hold your date for up to a week (they may push you for a deposit if they have a lot of interest in the same day). We looked at other villa style venues as well as hotels before deciding on ours, most of the time there will be compromises you have to make in which ever venue you choose but make sure the one you pick ticks the majority of important boxes for you.
Q: Did we use a Wedding Planner?
Yes we did. We didn't initally set out to have a planner but the venue we picked highly recommended us getting one. Our venue is a self service villa and although there is someone who manages the rental etc there isn't necessarily someone who will be there on the day organising everything which is why we chose to get planners. If you are getting married at a hotel or fully functioning venue like a country house or something then there is likely to be in-house managers who will do a lot of the organising that a planner would do and therefore it may not be necessary. When it comes to planners, make sure to do your research, we went with the planners recommended to us by the venue and although they are good you rely on your planners to find the majority of your suppliers so make sure the are aligned with the style and aesthetic that you want for your wedding so that the suppliers they recommend are also in keeping.
Q: How did you find your suppliers?
As i menioned above, if you have planners then they are a great way to suggest and find your suppliers. However, its really important to do a bit of your own research too and push back on your planners of the suppliers they are finding you aren't in keeping with your tastes. I actually found my photographer on Instagram, (as someone who loves a good picture..) the photographer was really important to me so i put extra time in researching and finding what i wanted, even though that meant spending a bit more than the ones suggested to us. I would 100% recommend finding one supplier straight away, usually something thats really important to you and you dont mind spending a bit more money on; like caterers, florist or even your planner and they will be able to suggest loads of different suppliers to you from working on numerous other weddings.
Q: How did you set a budget?
This is a really good question as the cost of a wedding is something that is quite overwheleming and I think its important to set realistic expectations before you start planning to ensure you know what you feel comfortable in spending and what you can get for that. Some adivce i'd give based on what we did, is to set up a spreadsheet/google doc and set out all the costs (our wedding planners provided us with a template for this but you can easily get one from Google) - and put estimated cost against each thing you need to pay for.
The biggest costs you'll need to consider are venue and catering. I would say catering (including alcohol) is about 35% of the total cost of our wedding, which i think is roughly about right considering we are buying all alcohol for the day as well. To get a rough estimate, work out a per head food and alcohol cost based on the maximim number of guest you'd like, that will give you a good indication of the budget you'll need for catering and then add this to the venue cost (if you've seen one you like).
If you can find a relatively cheap or free venue, like a parents house or a hotel which usually don't charge a venue hire or even host it outdoors then you can keep the cost down a bit. However, if you do go down that route be aware that there will likely be additional costs like marqee hire, hiring of tables/chairs, extra toilets etc and if you hold it in a hotel just be aware that it wont be a purely private event as the hotel would still have other guests. Basically, as i mentioned earlier, which ever venue you choose just be aware that you will have to compromise on certain elements, but go for the venue and style of wedding that is most in keeping with what you want from your special day!
Q: Do you think destiation wedding work out cheaper than the average UK wedding?
The average cost of a wedding in the UK is £30,000 according to the current national averages. Having your wedding abroad can definitely be cheaper in some aspects, for example the tax on alcohol and food in Spain is lower than the UK meaning that catering and alcohol probably comes in cheaper. You also have to consider the exachange rate and given that most things are a little cheaper in Spain coupled with a favourable exchange rate you can definitely save yourself a few grand.. however, I wouldn't bank on that especially in the current climate in which the dreaded Brexit has done us little-to-no favours when it comes to the exchange rate. I think you can easily spend the same amount on a wedding in Spain/Italy/France as you can in the UK and that it's not really the country you have it in, but more the type of wedding you have that defines the amount you spend. If you would like a destination wedding because of the more guaranteed hot weather, family ties or just simply because its what you want, then go for it, but whilst there there are definitely some cost savings by having it abroad, i wouldn't make that the sole reason to do so as I'm not sure it necessarily pays off.
Q: Did the climate/temparature impact your decision on the style of dress?
Yes definitely. As a person prone to persperation (wow, that is some illiteration!) it was important that my dress was fitting for the temperature it's likely to be. From the start i only really tried on dresses that were sleeveless/short sleeved as I knew i'd feel too hot and restricted with a long sleeve dress. It was also important to me to ensure my dress was fitting to the venue and style of wedding; we are getting married in an old Hacienda so something outdoor appropriate, slightly vintage and Spanishy was what i was looking for. I tiried on some dresses that were really beautiful but I just didnt feel were fitting to the venue and would be a lot more suited to a British church wedding with a high cut necks and lots of chantilly lace.
Q: How many dresses did you try on and how did you choose your dress?
As quite an indecsisive person I tried on A LOT of dresses before I bought one. Not because I hadn't had the 'this is the one' moment; I literally tried on about 10 dresses that I could have easily worn on the day, for me it came down to finding the right type of dress for our style of wedding and then finding it for the right price. If you don't have a particular idea in your mind of what you'd like, or even if you do, i'd defintely suggest trying on a few different styles before you decide and dont feel pressured to make a decision too quickly, contrary to what the dress shops may tell you, you have more time than you think!
Some useful websites for second hand dresses & info about Wedding dress sample sales:
And some bridal boutiques i visited:
Q: Where did you get your Bridesmaids dresses from and how did you choose?
I actually found it relatively easy to find dresses for my three bridesmaids, I had a particular colour in mind to start with but it quickly became apparent that that colour wasn't easy to find and probably better for a winter wedding so after looking around and thinking about our colour scheme we decided to go with a different, more summery colour. I looked around a lot but in the end Asos came through with the best dresses, mainly because the particular colour I wanted was quite specific and they actually had it and in a few different styles, meaning the girls had more of a choice of styles. Ulitmately, although the colour and style is important, you want your bridesmaids to feel comfotable in what they are wearing so I tried not to dictate too much, luckily they were all really happy with the colour I chose, in the end we went for two dresses in one style and the other in a different style but the same exact colour.
If you go for quite a specific colour tone, a really great way of matching Bridesmaid dresses to groomsmen ties etc its via Swagger & Swoon they have hundreds of different shades of every colour you can think of and you can order swatches for around 30p before ordering your ties, cravets and pocket squares. Literally one of the handiest and most easy to use Wedding websites i've come across!
Some websites I looked at for Bridesmaid Dresses:
I hope this helped those that asked or anyone who is in the midst of planning and can't wait to update you on the whole day which is only just over a week away now!