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'People are tired of beef-or-salmon': 6 expert tips on planning a modern wedding

Many couples are moving away from the traditional ‘hotel ballroom’ approach. The Wedding Expert tells us more.

WEDDING PLANNING IS like a full-time job – which we don’t need to tell you if you’re in the middle of it at the moment, right?

But never fear – help is at hand.

From the cake to the caterers, there’s so much to organise. To get you started, we spoke to wedding planner Bláithín O’Reilly Murphy of The Wedding Expert and got advice on planning the perfect day out – and how to manage all that needs to be done beforehand. We also got the inside scoop from hitched staffers here in Journal Media on their big days.

That engagement party is a distant memory – time to get the head down.

Be you – but don’t go too quirky

People are moving away from the traditional hotel wedding for many reasons – whether it’s because they’re having smaller weddings or because they fancy doing something a bit more unique. O’Reilly Murphy has definitely noticed a trend towards weddings in city locations or people taking food inspiration from food trucks. She said:

People are tired of the beef or salmon option.

Farbridge Wedding Venue, near Chichester Wedding Photography by Jon Day Wedding Photography by Jon Day

Of course, the main talking point of the day is often the meal (beating out the chat about the best man’s speech and the bride’s gown by a nose for our money). Chef Andrew Rudd gave us his top tips for having that go as smoothly as possible:

People remember three things about weddings – how beautiful the bride looks, the food and the entertainment.

He advised having interesting menus but not ones that were “too quirky”. Careful now.

His other insider suggestions include having a dessert bar that people can help themselves to later on in the evening, rather than overfeeding people at the main meal and having to do extra food later. (It’ll help to keep the food costs down too.)

And remember to have canapes: “Most people will not have had lunch so make sure to have some canapes to take the edge off before dinner comes.”

Time is of the essence

Asking how long it takes to plan a wedding is sort of like asking how long is a piece of string. That said, O’Reilly Murphy told us that there is actually one concrete time constraint – the three months notice to the Registrar of the couple’s intent to marry. “If you’re going for a legal wedding,” she says, “the minimum amount of time is the minimum amount of notice period you need to give.”

Place setting magicmonkey magicmonkey

This sentiment was echoed by a married member of staff on TheJournal.ie news desk:

I think it’s important to recognise that there’s no logical end to wedding planning. Until the actual wedding. There is always something else you COULD be organising/adding on/complicating your life with, so you kind of have to just decide to draw the line somewhere.

How to tackle the mammoth task at hand

That said, it’s vital to get organised in advance to both minimise your own stress and also to avoid a last-minute bump the road derailing your carefully laid plans. A sports writer from The42.ie shared his story:

I would say do all your planning way in advance because you never know what might pop up. We sorted everything about a month before ours which was handy as two weeks before, we had a family medical emergency with the bride’s Dad. We didn’t want to go ahead with the wedding but reluctantly did when he asked us to. We would not have been able to if we’d left things to the last minute.

While this is of course a worst case scenario, it does illustrate the pivotal importance of starting early. Unexpected bumps in the road are par for the course.

Wendy and Jonathan Open House kimberlykv kimberlykv

In order to tackle this task and help ensure you’re plugging away a little and often, another journalist shared this top tip from her planning experience:

Make a calendar of what you need to do every month, so you can see what has to be done and spend a bit of time on it, rather than trying to get lots done in fits and starts.

Before you even start – the preliminary questions

Planning a wedding requires so much time and effort that it’s really tough for the couple to do it all by their lonesome. Whether they hire a professional to sort the lot or merely draft in friends and family, O’Reilly Murphy said it’s imperative to start asking yourself the right questions from the outset:

How are you going to plan the wedding? Is it just going to be the couple themselves? Are they going to use a wedding planner? Are they going to get friends and family involved? Then decide ‘how are we going to organise those people or ourselves?’

She continued:

“Do you use Google docs, or Pinterest or even just paper and pen? Make it very central. The likes of Dropbox and Pinterest makes things so easy. Even having a Facebook group for your wedding party means you can all communicate and share really quickly and easily as well.”

How to hack a Filofax... (1) Fabienne D. Fabienne D.

And a Journal Media bod shared this (potentially life-changing) tip to boot:

 I would say that if you have an over-involved mother or mother-in-law, give them something specific to organise and let them go to town on it.

That may be extremely helpful to some of you reading this – you know who you are if so… You can do it.

The dreaded budget

The part of the wedding that sends the most shivers down spines has got to be the budget. O’Reilly Murphy said that’s often because people simply don’t realise the price associated. For instance, if you budget €500 for a photographer, you’re going to get a bit of a land when you go looking for a good photographer later.

Really research those types of things before you set a budget… Overall it means you’re not getting these massive shocks closer to the wedding.

And finally… Forget about Pinterest perfection

Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration in helping to inspire you. However, take this word of advice from the experts:

Don’t think you should go for these picture perfect setting and remember these images come from styled shoots or film sets where they’ve had days to set everything up and make it perfect. Always concentrate on what’s important for the day. Go for fabulous as opposed to perfection.

And one last thing – congratulations, of course.

Medley on Fleet Street East is the perfect venue for your perfect day. Not only does it have a winning city centre location, it’s also big on flavour, buzzing with style and brimming with originality. Find out for yourself at our Events Showcase on 5 February and check us out online at medley.ie

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