It takes an elite team of florists, chefs, entertainers, photographers, videographers, stylists and planners to create a wedding that speaks to who you are and provides a memorable experience for your guests. But it all starts with you and your betrothed. So, how and where to begin?
Through our extensive experience of providing pole and canvas marquees for the high-end weddings of discerning couples, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to plan successful, experience-focused, luxury weddings. From multi-tasking to communicating with a whole host of suppliers, a great deal of effort and skill goes into keeping everything running smoothly and getting the elevated wedding day of your dreams at the end of it all.
So, in this article, we thought we’d share the top marquee wedding planning tips that we’ve learnt from the experts for planning a successful luxury wedding.
Our tips for planning an ethereal and elevated marquee wedding
1. Define your budget
Estimating costs for each supplier category can be challenging. Bridal magazines don’t always provide reliable guidance. Even if you don’t have a budget, starting with an estimated breakdown of costs is a helpful reference to work against. A wedding planner can give accurate cost insights, but if you don't have one, determine your total budget and then work out which supplier categories are most important to you. Keep a detailed log of expenses to stay on top of the finances.
2. Decide who makes the cut?
Possibly the most controversial and agonising part of wedding planning, the length of your guest list not only influences the size and atmosphere of your wedding, but also impacts your budget. Keep in mind that each guest means additional costs that go beyond food and drinks. Every guest will need an invitation, an order of service and a name card. More guests mean more tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery, and glassware, plus extra centrepieces for the extra tables. You also need to know your guest count in order to choose a suitable venue that can accommodate everyone, or a large enough site for the size of marquee you require.
3. Start visualising your wedding design
Before booking suppliers, consider your wedding's overall design. We’re not saying you should start choosing wedding favours and table linen straight away, but a simple Pinterest board can give you and potential suppliers an idea of your desired look and feel for the big day. This will help you select the suppliers who ‘get’ your vision.
4. Hire a wedding planner for a luxury wedding
A good wedding planner really can bring your vision to life. To some couples, a wedding planner may seem like an unnecessary expense, but in fact, a luxury wedding planner can save you money and get you access to exclusive venues. They put quality over quantity, and know how to realise your dream without any unnecessary costs. Experienced planners have the inside knowledge, connections with the best suppliers and are in a great position to create a personalised, spectacular experience that reflects you as a couple.
5. Choose a venue
Choosing the right location to host your luxury wedding is one of the most important tasks that will have the biggest impact on your day. If your wedding is going to be a big one, there might not be a practical venue option in your chosen area so you may need to look further afield to find a place that matches your vision, has the date you want available and can accommodate your guest list. Unless you are hiring a marquee of course, which gives you much more flexibility in terms of location and can be transformed into your perfect luxury wedding venue.
6. Find ‘the’ dress
Sometimes the dress can dictate the day, it’s true, in fact one member of the P&B team was planning a small intimate registry office do, until she stumbled across the most beautiful dress in a Bruce Oldfield sample sale. It was such a steal she had to have it. But the length of the train demanded the grandeur of a church aisle, and all of a sudden the modest affair went out the window and in swooped a big white wedding instead. Well, maybe your head isn’t turned quite as easily as our staffer, but who doesn't want to wow their guests and surprise their fiancé with a jaw-dropping dress. Top wedding dress designers with A-list clients are actually available to mere mortals too. Just make sure you get on the waiting list as soon as possible. These designers will guarantee an ideal fit and create a dress as unique as you are. Also, keep your eyes peeled for designer sample sales!
7. Bespoke tailoring
Don’t overlook the men’s suits. Left to their own devices, grooms and best men could likely head straight for off-the-peg options, or dare we say it…rental suits (gulp!)
These generic ill-fitting suits could result in the groom and groomsmen looking like they’re off to their sixth form graduation ball, and no one wants that at a luxury wedding. Alternative options include made to measure, which follows a standard pattern but is made to the client’s personal measurements. Or, for real luxury, go for
bespoke tailored. This suit will be individually crafted to your measurements with no constraints on materials or customisation. It will be something truly special. Both made to measure and bespoke tailored suits take time and will need booking in early.
8. Sophisticated wedding touches
Once you've booked your venue or luxury pole and canvas marquee, you can start planning how to infuse it with your personal style. Handpicking the right details can work wonders, not just on how the venue looks but on the overall feel of your special day. Thinking about the details early on ensures all the other elements of your wedding, such as wedding stationary, tie in seamlessly with each other. And that is key to creating a wedding experience that exudes high-end luxury.
9. Hire a top photographer and videographer
So, you’re going all out to curate a day full of luxury, opulence, intricate details, elaborate decor and rare beautiful moments. You’re going to want to document all of it, right?! A skilled photographer and videographer can capture every element and tell the story of the best day of your life in a cohesive and emotive way. They will make sure nothing is overlooked and their work will encapsulate the feelings and ambiance of the day. A luxury wedding demands the expertise of top-tier professionals who can show the unique elements that define such an exclusive and upscale event. The result is a visual record that preserves the memories of a truly extraordinary celebration.
10. Plan the perfect luxury wedding entertainment
Your entertainment should be in line with your wedding theme. Think string quartet for an elegant celebration or a jazz band for a vintage feel.
You’ll need to ensure your chosen venue doesn’t have any particular noise restrictions, space issues or other logistical barriers that will prevent you from having your dream band. Incidentally, one major advantage of hiring a pole and canvas marquee for your wedding is that these issues rarely arise, space and acoustics certainly aren’t a problem, all equipment is available to hire, access is easy and if noise is likely to affect anyone it can usually be handled diplomatically.
If you have a wedding planner they will thoroughly research potential entertainment options. If you’re doing the booking yourself, read reviews, and consult your venue for recommendations. Don’t forget to consult your partner too, they might not be as into Mongolian throat singing as you. Good entertainers are usually booked up 12 to 18 months in advance so make sure you get in early.
If children are on the guest list, it’s a great idea to plan some kid’s entertainment and organise a wedding creche service to keep little ones busy. This will create a wonderful wedding experience for the children and their parents (who will thank you!) and shows that you have put a lot of thought and consideration into making sure they all enjoy themselves.
11. Give top priority to enhancing your guests' experience.
Make sure transportation is well-coordinated. If it’s a wedding weekend, you want the check-in process to be short and sweet. Providing welcome bags upon hotel arrival makes sure guests feel special from the get go.
Provide a diverse menu catering to various tastes. Go all out with amenities such as blister plasters, sunscreen, hand cream etc in the bathrooms, overshoes in case of mud and blankets and hot water bottles in your spill out area. Thoughtful details like this can truly elevate your guest’s experience.
12. Stick the landing
How your wedding ends can be as memorable as how it starts. End on a high with a fireworks display and a sparkler send off, perfect for a marquee wedding, where everyone can easily nip outside. You could take it up a level and put on a movie screening, so people can rest their dancing feet and end the night cosying up in front of one of your favourite flicks. If it’s a wedding weekend you can lay on a post wedding brunch and take the opportunity to thank everyone and spend a bit more time with guests who have travelled in. If you’re the active type and location is suitable you could even organise a restorative morning after hike (optional of course).
13. Plan your honeymoon
Don’t forget to plan the honeymoon! It’s part of your wedding and it's essential to have this time after the big day to spend together and possibly more importantly, get some rest! Trust us, you will be exhausted!
It's a good plan to start the conversation early and make sure you’re on the same page as to the type of honeymoon you both want. You can then go to an agent who will be able to put together the best itinerary at a good price for you.
We hope these tips help you start planning your wedding and ensure it’s a little less stressful from the get-go. Here at Peacock and Bow, we work with the leading wedding suppliers in the industry and can help you get your wedding planning off to the best start. Get in touch today to kick off turning your wedding dream into a reality.