Rachel, Wedding Co-ordinator at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, is engaged to be married to Peter in May 2019. Rachel spends her day advising other brides and grooms on how to make the most of their special day, but now it is her turn. Follow her journey, trials and tribulations, as she shares her experiences from the other side…
There are so many different elements that go into the creation of your perfect wedding, and choosing where you will get married is only the beginning. As soon as the venue is confirmed, the next step is to fill it!
All couples will organise themselves differently, but I advise my clients at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa to keep track of everything in a spreadsheet, or within a series of lists (or a mixture of both!). This is a great way to keep on top of what has been done (and paid for), what still needs to be arranged, deadlines, timelines and keeping track of costs! Although I encourage my clients to be as organised as possible, sometimes it is easier said than done and Peter and I have spent the past months working our way through our “things to book” list, and going back and forth to even make the tiniest decisions. We still have a long way to go, but it feels amazing when you get some of the finer details set in stone – and achieve that satisfaction of ticking something off the list.
Peter and I spend a lot of time discussing our dreams and vision for the wedding – it’s far too easy for us to get over-excited and carried away, but we always manage to rein each other in! Fortunately Peter and I have similar tastes (mostly), and with plenty of discussions, compromises and a few ‘fair exchanges of views’, we’ve been able to agree a vision for most things we want on our special day.
Although we know what we want, one of the biggest challenges we have come across is having the right contacts and knowing the best places to source everything from, and I know we’re not alone in this as I come across the same concern from couples all the time. It is natural to want to choose the suppliers you know, and that are local to your area, but sometimes this is just not possible. I work with so many incredible Newmarket-based wedding suppliers at the Hotel, and I would have loved to have used them all for my wedding, however, because we are getting married in Farnborough, which is the other side of the country to Newmarket, it has just not been feasible. We had to look at things practically, and so far we have chosen a mixture of suppliers from Newmarket who are happy to travel, and some suppliers recommended by our venue in Farnborough for the elements which are near impossible to transport.
For example, when it came to choosing the cake, I thought it would’ve been one of the most fun (i.e. tasty!) choices we got to make, but having to consider the logistics turned it into one of the biggest decisions we faced. We knew that we would need to source this locally to the venue and decided in the end to go with Cakes by Nina, as they are highly recommended by our venue, and create some truly incredible works of art. After placing our order, all of my worries were put at ease when Nina came back to me with the perfect design in less than 12 hours – she has been absolutely brilliant. We decided to go for a traditional three tiered wedding cake, which will be fully iced with white, silver and blue details to match our colour scheme. Peter and I are lucky that our cake supplier has been able to reflect our vision for the wedding cake so perfectly, but if you are not happy with any part of the wedding in the first instance, there is no harm in asking your suppliers to try a new direction or to explore alternative options. Where a supplier might be fantastically talented, and able to match the tastes of one couple, they might just not be the right fit for you and your fiancé – and that is no one’s fault!
If you have concerns about what elements need to be booked as a priority, one of the very first things on our list was to source a photographer. The best wedding photographers tend to get booked up way in advance, so we were keen to get this checked off early. Peter and I would love to be able to tell our wedding story through our photos, therefore we needed someone who can capture natural images during the day, as well as creative images of us and our family. Luckily, I know just the guy – I have worked with Peter Denness many times before and absolutely love his style of work. We looked at different options closer to the venue but none were as relaxed, or suited to our style, in the way Peter is, and I know from experience that the most important thing to consider when choosing a photographer is someone who makes you, your partner and all of your guests feel comfortable. So, we were thrilled to confirm him as our photographer.
Our guitarist for the ceremony, reception drinks, and wedding breakfast is also travelling down to Farnborough for us. We knew we wanted an element of live music incorporated within our day and looked at bands originally, however, whilst it would be lovely, the price paid a huge part in our choice and the cost for a band would take us way above our budget. We also considered that, as many of our guests are older, they may not be keen to dance all evening, and an empty dancefloor is just unfair to any band! We looked at pianists, harpists, string trios – the works, but we really clicked with our guitarist, Greg Fidler Acoustic Guitarist. Greg is an incredible musician who I have been fortunate to see perform at many of the weddings I’ve helped to plan, and when I asked Peter what he thought he immediately loved him too – I am certain Greg will make our day special. Music is critical to creating the atmosphere you want so, if you choose to have a live performer at your wedding, make sure you choose someone who matches your and your partner’s style. Your venue will know musicians who they regularly work with, so don’t be afraid to seek advice. The next big thing for us will be deciding which songs we will ask Greg to play as I walk down the aisle and for our first dance – we have a list of songs which are meaningful to us, so now it will just be a case of picking the right one!
With lots of these big things confirmed the whole wedding is really starting to take shape. There is still a lot to do but, with the help of our spreadsheets and to-do lists, and with all the time that Peter and I spend discussing our vision and ideas, I feel confident that our wedding will be exactly what we imagined.
Next step? The dress…!