A Handful of Wedding Planning Tips [Part 2]

Another Brief Introduction

Welcome to the second instalment of the Wedding Planning Tips saga. For those lucky enough not to be aware of Part 1; it happened in blog post far far away; where topics such as Budgets, Guest Lists & Save The Dates were discussed. For those for whom the Force is strong; you will be aware that that particular post ended with the promises of additional topics being covered; and with that the wedding planning saga continues!

But don’t panic it doesn’t have to be a solo affair..

Part 2 – The Big Take Away [to save you reading the rest]. As with Part 1, Part 2 iterates the same key point! There are very few things that are really worth losing sleep over when planning a wedding. And I’m not just repeating myself for lack of new content; nor because I’m planning to drop in another very loose Star Wars analogy..

 Just remember, as a wise author once said “No, seriously. At the end of the day; you; your partner and some witnesses are all that’s needed! The rest of it is just matrimonial fluff [well, with the exception of a photographer obvs].”

But as promised. lets move on and ramble on around the topics of:

1. A Photographer –  Look Pensive & Do Not Show Too Much Skin.

2. Wedding Fairs – Like a Normal Fair But Less Fun

3. Etiquette / ‘Schzmequette’ -Breaking From Tradition Brides Just Wanna Have Some Fun!!

4. Groomsmen – The Suits, The Responsibilities & The Faux Pas

5. The Wedding Breakfast – To Give Guests a Choice OR to Force Feed Them Chicken [Vegetarians Beware]

1. A Wedding Photographer [Look Pensive & Do Not Show Too Much Skin]

Given the site that you are currently on, it is likely that you are considering the hiring of a wedding photographer; or alternatively you are very lost and are desperately trying to navigate back to cat videos.

The average couple in the UK spend substantial amounts of money on their wedding day, so it makes perfect sense that couples are eager to preserve that memory with top-notch photography. Which is why picking the right photographer is important; because after-all the alternative may leave you keeping the ‘album’ hidden out of sight for the rest of your wedded life.

Here are some tips that should assist with you finding your kindred spirit

Top Tips:

  • Review their past work (portfolio, sample album)
  • Ensure they are showing recent work. Not just that ‘perfect wedding from 10 years ago..’
  • What are they providing you as a product?
    • i.e. unedited images, edited high res images, water marked images, an album]
  • Are they insured?
  • Meet the photographer before booking where possible but at the very least before the wedding; talk about what you want from their services.
  • Ask questions

Most importantly you need to TRUST your photographer. You need to trust that when they provide advice on posing they are helping you look your best. Meeting your photographer before your wedding will really help with this trust building, so make sure you make time! If your prospective photographer will not meet you before the day; that’s your call. BUT would you buy a car before taking it out for a test drive? [the original analogy was veto’d by the wife…].

Personal Insight: During our wedding; I was told many things, mainly ‘stop messing around and focus’ but during the small amount of time my mind was on the prize; I was told two things which stuck with me.

  1. Look Pensive: This was my staple ‘look’, because I like giving off an an air of pretentiousness which at the time I equated to faux-pensive. And secondly; even Gromit would mistake me for Wallace when I smile. #cheese
  2. Too Much Skin: Most importantly this has nothing to do with ‘flying low’. One of the take-aways from my wedding was the importance of leaving your wrist on show slightly, thus to break up the line between trouser pocket and jacket sleeve. Otherwise it just looks weird! Even more so than my ‘cheesy Wallace face’.. I am told.
Wedding Planning | Amanda Forman Photography
2. Wedding Fayres / Like a Normal Fair But Less Fun

Not necessarily a necessary evil; but for those who have a full-time job, and would prefer not to spend all their free time for the next 12-28 months drowning in wedding crap. You may consider a wedding fayre or two, as, if used wisely they are an efficient use of time. And when it comes to weddings, efficiently using ones’ free time has been known to assist in keeping ones’ sanity.

Depending upon your level of commitment [to the wedding fayre idea, not the wedding in general] you can either head to a local fayre or a national one.  In my experience, national wedding fayres felt a little more high maintenance than the local ones; but each to their own.

More Personal Insight: We [Amanda and I] visited both types during our planning stage; to be honest my distain for national ones was akin to that usually saved for ‘those who stand on the left of an escalator’. This distain was primarily due to the size, overcrowding and inherent feral nature of some of the visitors. I personally preferred the more local fairs, usually hosted at actual wedding venues.

Obviously, any wedding fair will obviously grant you access to many wedding related services within a small amount of time. The benefit of the more local fayre is that they are located at actual wedding venues. Meaning that if you are lucky you can visit a fayre at the venue that you are also considering for your ‘day’. This provides a good opportunity to see the venue dressed for a wedding, meet local suppliers and also the staff at the venue.

Most importantly; never forget to pop and say hi to the ‘Photo Booth’ team; and use the opportunity to secure a cheeky photo as a memento of your trip to the fayre.

Wedding Planning | Amanda Forman Photography
3. Etiquette / Schmeziquete [Breaking From Tradition & Brides Just Wanna Have Some Fun!]

This is a difficult topic to discuss. You may have picked up on the subtle undertones, but just to be clear; I’m not a traditional type of person, nor would I classify myself as needlessly needing to follow etiquette.

What I quickly realised following a 2.1 second power Google, was that you could likely find any preference dressed as a tradition. It appears that traditions and etiquette once originated from history, royalty etc etc; now it appears to be perpetuated by ‘celebrities’ and wedding magazines.

Tradition ‘fun facts’ to drop into conversation

  • The original meaning of the word bride was actually just ‘cook’ – We don’t think this one will go down too well.
  • Apparently if the groom doesn’t turn up to the wedding, it is the best man’s responsibility to take over and marry the bride.
  • Western Brides wearing a white dress was started by Queen Victoria in 1840

More Personal Insight: During the wedding planning phase of tomandawedding, we primarily focused on the things that we wanted; and only gave attention to etiquette when said etiquette meant something to us, rather than merely because of its status

#tomandawedding was initially meant to be the combination of Tom and Amanda. But as it turned out, everyone just read it as ‘Tom and a wedding’; which to be fair also made sense, as it was MY DAY.

I guess the take away, and therefore the main point that I’m trying to make is. Try and avoid chasing the ‘rabbit of etiquette’ down a hole; because before you know it you’ll have an entire wedding day dictated by everything that is likely not even important to you, because you feel like you should.


Wedding Planning | Amanda Forman Photography
4. Groomsmen [The Suits, The Responsibilities & The Faux Pas]

In essence, picking your groomsmen is simple. Select people that will be both useful on the day; and that you are close to! After all weddings are about friends and family.

Keeping in mind that a basic life fact [like gravity], is that every social circle has the token ‘let down’ [politest way I could word it]; the person that’s always late, cancels at the last moment; etc etc. This is NOT the type of person to give responsibilities to at anytime; but especially on your wedding day.

Note: Should you be thinking ‘I have no such person in my group of friends’, then here is a fun fact; it is YOU. So after reading this you should tell your better half how lucky you are..

But to the point! The basic responsibilities of the herd / grromsmen include [but are not limited to]:

  • Assisting the groom on the wedding day,
  • Be in charge of the ushers [in the event that the ushers aren’t also groomsmen]
  • Keep the wedding bands safe until needed during the ceremony [usually the best man]
    • wedding bands is wedding lingo for wedding rings. Do not hold the DJ hostage..
  • Stand next to the groom during the ceremony,
  • Act as the legal witness [again usually the best man]
  • Prepare a “best man’s speech” to be read after the wedding breakfast!
    • wedding breakfast is wedding lingo for dinner / supper / tea – depending on where you are from.
  • Look epic in the group photos

Take away: pick people you are close to, who you trust and that are relatively responsible. It may also be worth preparing to get the veto discussion with your wedding collaborator…

Oh and make sure at least one of them can tie a cravat / tie

Wedding Planning | Amanda Forman Photography
5. The Wedding Breakfast – Give Them a Choice OR Force Feed Them Chicken [Vegetarians Beware]

Disclaimer: All joking aside, this section is not about making flippant remarks about vegetarians or vegans, nor about anyone with dietary  requirements. Because as you, the reader will likely know, recent news events have highlighted that making such jokes is NOT OK. I’m not discriminating I have a family member who is a vegetarian.. This section is actually just about the pros / cons of giving your guests menu options.

No Choice – You Shalt Eat Chicken

You may instinctively believe that no choice is the easy choice; your guests will simply eat what you tell them to eat. And if you have invited 50 children who will all happily eat MacDonald Happy Meals [other fast food chains are available] then this maybe true.

However if you have invited 70-100 adults, it is fair to say a hand full of them will not even like chicken; nor your vegetarian option!

At that point you have two very basic options;

  1. Pander to them and start offering other options on the quiet to guests who dont like chicken
  2. Explain that your wedding is X months away which is plenty of time to learn to like CHICKEN.

Assuming you are not like this author and have an underlying urge to be liked, then option 2 probably isn’t the right one for you. Unless you enjoy ruling your wedding with an iron fist.

Not providing your guests with a choice (outside of vegetarian and vegan) usually works out a little cheaper. The overhead of caterers being able to satisfy multiple types of each course usually adds a surcharge to your bill. Worth noting however that there is always a vegetarian option available at no additional cost; and the vegetarian option can also be adapted to be vegan.

Pro Choice – What Shalt Thou Eat?

Giving your guests an option for each course usually keeps 99% of the guests happy [there is always one]; and providing menu choices with your invites and receiving their responses along with the RSVP is the normal process.

Although you’ll have to do the administration of this, it is incredibly helpful on the day if peoples name cards on the table also have their menu choices printed on them. Why you ask?

  1. Guests will have selected their menu choices months prior to your wedding and may not remember what they chose.
  2. It is not uncommon for people to suddenly prefer the sight of their neighbours food and ‘pretend‘ thats what they in fact ordered.
  3. Your guests will no doubt to talking to each other, so place names that can be turned around to show staff what everyone is eating saves time and disruption.

As mentioned in the the ‘No Choice’ section; providing options to guests will likely increase the costs of your catering bill; as there is extra resources and effort involved in making varying dishes. This is just one of the costs of getting married, as is the cost of corkage, over priced holidays [honeymoons] and pretending that a ‘toaster’ is something that you have always wanted, and have in fact lived without until this very day..

Test Your Menu! 

Any caterer worth their salt #foodpun will suggest you visit their premises and taste your menu; DO IT

  1. This is a great chance to try your menu, which is good for many reasons
  2. The tasting is usually free assuming that you have already booked them; and everyone likes free food

it is your responsibility to check its free, don’ take this authors word for it

Person Insight [the last one] Amanda and I opted to give our guests menu choices. This was well received by most. We tracked RSVPs and Menu Choices via an elaborate Excel Spreadsheet [other spreadsheet applications are available] with VLOOKUPs and conditional formatting [Excel skills are sexy].

Why am I telling you this? Because tracking RSVPs as them came in meant that I could provide our Stationary Company with all information needed to create place names along with the menu choice; thus removing the ability for our lying, cheating and general mischievous guests to cause an incident.

and there was much rejoicing
Wedding Planning | Amanda Forman Photography

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