Top 20 wedding planning tips from DJ-Scotland!
Ensure your special day goes without a hitch with our great advice. From venues to the guest list, we’ve got the best wedding planning tips to ensure your big day is glitch-free. Our Top 20 wedding planning tips are very informative for both the Groom and the Bride.
Don't be surprised to find yourself slightly overwhelmed by the reality of actually planning a wedding. Forget any party you've ever organised; this is a different kettle of fish altogether. From worries about whether to escalating costs and catering questions to flowers, dresses and photographers, there's a never-ending 'To-do' list and you're just at the start.
1. Be your own Wedding Planner
Get yourself a wedding planner, not a professional wedding advisor, but a well-structured document. That will save you a fortune and you will be in charge! You can download it from the internet, or create your own and start wedding planning the way you want it. You might have your ideal wedding date in mind, but don’t think that means you have to wait two years before you start planning. The earlier you get onto it, the easier, and less stressful it will be as your day approaches. Having a clear plan before you start will help you keep on top of everything and be sure that you don’t forget something important. Guestlist, the venue and your music should always be your first three things.
2. Your Vision
Don’t think about the budget just yet. At this early stage, you should focus on this what do you want but what is practical and achievable. Many fantastic weddings were on a small budget and too many very average weddings on a massive budget, where the newlywed were lost in the number of organisational issues and bad planning.
3. Your budget
Don’t spend anything until you’ve set your vision and a realistic budget that won’t stretch you too far. It’s a common mistake to forget all the little extras, too – for the budget to work, you need to factor in every detail. Don’t forget to account for additional costs like dress alterations, gifts and beauty expenses. Do not spend most of your budget on one item e.g. venue and forget another. Remember that you will also need flowers, decoration and a wedding dress!
Talking about money is awkward and sometimes can be hard, but you’re going to have to get used to it. You’ll need to talk budgets with suppliers, venues, DJ, or a Band, your partner and your families so get comfortable being open about it.
4. Accept help
Planning your wedding can be very stressful, if you don’t feel it now you will later on, closer to your big day. Your friends and family will be more than happy to help and will want to be involved in the planning. By getting help from people you trust, you’re more likely to feel that you can be honest if things aren’t exactly as you want them. Be very specific about your needs, do not leave things to the last moment.
5. Be selective with the guest list
Sorting the guest list early is important so you won’t leave people disappointed and focus on finding the perfect venue that will suit your needs. What you have to consider is the number of guests, but also those who will not attend and usually, it is unfortunately about 10-15%. Costs per head will most likely be your biggest expense, so don’t invite people you don’t want to come, or you won’t see a lot after the wedding. It’s the biggest and hardest decision in the whole planning process, but it has to be yours and your second half decision only. Keep your list in the visible place and gently investigate, who can attend, who may attend and who definitely won’t attend. Speak to both parents to find out about people’s full names and the address.
6. Planning for the weather
You will simply have to prepare for every eventuality, check the forecast, but book the venue, where your guests can comfortably spend the whole afternoon and the evening indoors. Don’t forget to communicate that to a Groom, who should organise a couple of (ideally white and large) umbrellas AND KEEP THEM in the car (not in his flat, or a house), just in case it starts to pour down on the way to the church. You should have one as well, just in case.
If you are not a fan of where you currently live, or the local venues doesn’t meet your standards you should reach out and check other venues further afield. It will affect the timings of your day – you can’t expect guests to travel faster than the traffic, for example. This is especially important if you’re planning a wedding abroad. To be safe, expect that many people won’t be able to make it. If local venues are not suitable you should check the google maps and search for hotels in the radius of 30 miles. It is common to travel to the nice venue, when everything is booked, or for the better deal. Some venues will offer an amazing package, but you need to check their availability and the quality of food served. Some of the packages you will be offered may include local band or DJ. Remember that most “great deals” may not be that great after all, so it is always better if you compare them with other deals and offers. You should think about your big day as something special and not let sales target chasing hotel managers spoil it. Starting from communication with the venue, planning details, having enough staff to cope with your wedding – everything is important. Whether it is a local venue, or a listed building with fantastic garden for your photo session in Scottish Highlands make sure the venue will have more than one electrical sockets / outlets for your band / DJ to use. Remember that the equipment your entertainment specialists will use will require a lot of power e.g. lights, sound. Modern LED lights are much better and safer to use, but still, it is a good practice to balance the power load to avoid blackout during your wedding reception. Some venues will have their heater connected on the same floor and this can cause electrical overload, but also noise.
Your venue should have the “wedding feel” and the “wow” effect on guests. If you can’t get the ideal venue, make sure it is at least suitable and safe to use. Many people book a small venue and organise the Cocktail Hour in a very small room, which is a mistake. Imagine being stuck in the room, where is not enough air to breath and no chairs to sit for all this time. It is not a great beginning of your reception party. Think about your guest, what they will feel in this situation and choose the venue with enough space for people to be able to walk, sit, drink and feel comfortable.
The dance floor is a vital element of your venue as well as the room acoustic. Look for the venue, where the dancefloor is made of wood and the rest of the room ideally covered with carpet, with some paintings, art or decoration on the walls so the sound won’t bounce off the empty walls and floor. The big hall is a challenge for the band / DJ as the sound has to be projected towards the dancefloor, not the guest sitting at the tables. Good DJ will know what speakers to use and how to set them up for the best possible effect called “best spot”. The average band / DJ will play loud music, leaving everybody confused and not being able to communicate with other guests. Each venue is different and your wedding lights have to be picked carefully to cover the ceiling, walls, floor, dance floor and provide some “wow” factor.
Some venues will have sound limiters installed and use a special microphone fitted inside to measure the loudness of the music. Those devices are connected to the power outlets and when the level is exceeded the power is cut off on the whole floor / room. The reason for this is complaints to the council regarding noise problems. This often results in the council giving the venue an ultimatum whereby if the venue cannot restrict and control their sound at a certain level they will lose their license. In a lot of cases, this is when a ‘Noise-Limiter’ is installed. Noise-limiters are electronic boxes which listen to the volume of a room and will cut electricity to the stage area when a certain level is reached and sustained. In theory, and mostly in practice, this works perfectly. Occasionally, the limiter is set to a point where it becomes an issue for anyone trying to play loud music. It's worth to check that and in case if the noise limiter is installed it's important what is the maximum level it can tolerate before will switch the power off. The main worry is that some venues have their limit set too low and continue to advertise their function rooms as suitable for weddings, birthdays and other celebrations, where the music is one of the most important elements of the event.
There is a similar issue with the smoke, haze or fog machines, as it certain situations they can trigger smoke alarms. It is very important to confirm that with the venue, as nobody wants this to happen during their big day.
The particles produced by fog machines can indeed set off ionisation-type smoke detectors as they sense the fog particles just like smoke.
A hazer is much less likely to set off smoke detection systems than a fogger due to the smaller size of its particles unless hazer operator will keep pumping significant amounts of Haze into a small area. So if you really want to get the best and safest effect, we would highly recommend you use a hazer at the moderate output, which should be the safest option. Some people are concerned about the oily residue that may be left by Haze. This is not a real concern especially when the machine is being used at a moderate rate and not being used for extended periods of time. Certain detectors work by sensing the rate of temperature increase – these will not be affected. Sprinkler systems usually work by sensing temperature and should not be affected by fog or haze.
It is a lot to consider, every venue is different, you may not use smoke machine or haze at all, but some “hidden” gems will offer you the flexibility you want, space for your guests and entertainment you need and will serve amazing food, summing up - it is worth travelling for the right venue. Remember that for some venues you have to wait a long time, so start looking around one, or better two years before your wedding!
8. Make sure you have a Plan B in place
Whether we want it or not, something could go wrong on the day. This could be anything from a problem with the heavy traffic due to roadworks to rain (despite the forecast promising a dry day). Plan alternatives for each scenario and account for anything that might not go to plan so you’re not left stressed out and panicking on the big day. You should have a list of all bridesmaids, a groom and ushers if have them for the day and distribute this list among them. They should have access to key people in case something will change and fast response is required. Modern technology allows using mobile phones more effectively via e.g. Facebook or WhatsApp group. In this case, you wouldn’t have to reply to 5-8 people with several texts, you can send one message to the group. Additionally, you should invest in wedding insurance, and check what circumstances are covered under your policy. Knowing that unforeseen circumstances can occur do some research and choose the right insurance policy.
9. Don’t let dieting take over your day
All brides want to look amazing, but you should stay healthy and keep your goals realistic. If you starve yourself or spend every available moment in the gym exercising, you’ll be exhausted, hungry and in no mood for a party. Remember that you love each other just the way you are, so don’t set a weight goal too high. Then, whatever the outcome you’ll be happy with yourself.
1. Eat a High-Protein Breakfast
2. Drink Plenty of Water
3. Weigh Yourself
4. Get Some Sun if you can
5. Try to cut your snacks
6. Squeeze in Some Exercise
7. Plan and pack your lunch ahead of time
8. Sleep Longer
9. Don't avoid stairs
10. Start tracking your eating habits
Making a few small changes to your habits can be an easy and effective way to increase weight loss. Changing your habits and later practising healthy behaviours can also get your day started on the right foot and set you up for success. For best results, make sure you combine your new habits with a well-rounded diet and healthy lifestyle.
Your bridesmaids should be your biggest support throughout the planning process, so choose them wisely. New friends or work colleagues are not the best choices. Instead choose your sisters, brothers, long–term best friends or close relatives.
11. Photographer / Videographer
Your wedding album is how you’ll refresh the special memories of your day, so don’t underestimate the importance of a good photographer. Research very carefully and find someone who understands exactly what you want. You can try some photographers with your engagement party if you want to. During this time, you’ll get to know your photographer better as well as practise your unique poses. This is important, you can do it at home without anyone knowing, simply agree between yourselves two or three poses you look good. That’s all.
You can also book also your videographer. The videography captures what photography doesn't. Videography allows couples to travel back in time, so to say. Everything is recorded on the film: the excitement, the happiness, the nervousness, the tears, the love. Sometimes that kind of emotion is hard to capture in still photography. The truth is however that in most cases, the video hardly looks and feels as good as the big day. Most couples, who are planning to capture the family and the small laughs that make the party, but hardly anyone is watching it more than once. If you want to have some video recorded during your wedding, but you don't want to spend a fortune on breathtaking slow-motion effects, why not ask your DJ / Band (if they provide this sort of service) to record a few short films in a vital moments at a small cost. Once you have the raw material (first dance, guest video messages, guests dancing) you can decide later whether you want to keep the video files on your memory stick to play them on your TV, upload it on Youtube and send a link to your friends and family, or pay a professional video studio to make a wedding DVD or a Blu-ray with captivating visual effects, 3D menu and intro music. You will know best what your budget allows.
12. Get the menu right
One of the most important elements of every wedding and the biggest talking points at any wedding is the food. Avoid cutting costs in this area – hungry guests are never a good thing, especially when they will have to travel, wait, again travel and wait again before they will get served with food.
Use Google Images, Instagram and Pinterest to find inspiration for your cake, but remember that what you see there might not always be possible in the real world. Consider your overall theme and colour scheme when deciding on decoration, including tables and let your DJ / Band know what is the colour you want to use, so they can set his lights to this colour when you will be walking in for the first time!
You can also provide special coasters that help people keep their drinks while dancing. If you noticed that at most weddings you have attended half-full glasses were disappearing taken by the venue staff you can order or make simple coasters, that can be put on the glass with a "Please don't take my drink. I am dancing!" message.
Making wedding transport arrangements can prove a minefield. With so many options out there it’s important that you find a company and a car which meets all your requirements. If you are unsure, or on a tight budget get someone you know, or ask a family member, or a friend with a nice car to help you out! Choose a wedding car that suits the theme of your day. Classic cars are a popular choice because they suit all types of wedding. Many companies offer luxury, classic cars including Hudsons, Bentleys and Chevys. These cars will grab everyone’s attention when you’re driving down the road, headed to your reception or even taking post-wedding photos in front of them. Don't forget about your guests, if they don't drive they simply won't be able to get to your wedding reception. Investigate and book a bus if you have to! You can save your money if your friends will take those, who don't drive or don't have access to a car.
14. Band, DJ and the Microphone!
The choice is not that simple as the final decision depends on many factors.
A band is almost always more expensive than a DJ for the simple reason - there are more people and more equipment involved and can play only those songs, which are instrumental. A band in most cases will not be able to perform Electronic, R&B, or GBX music. Bands have limited control over their sound levels and are notorious for playing much louder than is required. A good DJ will ensure that the speakers are high quality and the music is played at the right level.
If you are booking a band make sure you hear them before you do. If the live music is your thing that’s great, but make sure your band can play your favourite music, as some of them will play they own music and songs that are hard to enjoy fully. You need to know that the version they will play will not be exactly this same as an original and the instrument they will use may not sound exactly this same either. This is important to mention, as some people do not see this as a problem until they hear their band play live.
DJ's have extreme flexibility to change the music and play all sorts of genres all night long going back and forth whereas bands do play a lot of different things and generally not as much as a DJ. The higher production quality of recorded music, with every instrument and vocal carefully set by the producer in the studio, makes it sound great at any volume level.
When looking for a DJ, or a band don't be tempted by 18" subwoofers and thousands of watts of power, as this what matters is the quality speakers build with quality components and skilled DJ.
Acoustically, subwoofers with 18" and 20" drivers are more susceptible to boominess, distortion and noise compared to subwoofers with 12" or 15" drivers because the speaker movement of such a large surface area is harder to control. Some big subwoofer drivers with inadequate motors don’t produce accurate bass and struggle to start and stop on time. This results in low-frequency output that can sound boomy or bloated and detract from the convincingness of audio experience.
It’s even possible for a subwoofer with a 10" or 12" driver to outperform a subwoofer with a larger driver if the motor magnets in the smaller subwoofer can generate greater force and exert better control over the driver. It’s also the reason why a subwoofer’s driver size can be overrated when determining the overall performance. Put simply, a big driver is harder to control and offers no guarantee of better experience or deeper bass than a small subwoofer. There is a reason, why most home cinemas have 12", or 15" subwoofer after all.
Ideally, your DJ would play some instruments, which would give you an indication that he knows what he is doing with the sound. Remember that the bigger the subwoofer the low bass frequencies have a longer wavelength and you will get more bass near the exit, or sitting area than the dance floor. Too much base will also prevent people from communicating during the night and give them a headache the following day. When the music is too loud all young guests will suffer and may experience pain and in extreme situations feel sick. Quality Dj will ensure a fantastic atmosphere and safety for everyone. When it comes to volume level and low frequencies, more doesn't necessarily mean better! The quality of sound and skilled speakers positioning is always more important than the volume. A good DJ will know how to read a crowd, and how to choose the right tracks to build the atmosphere at a party, bringing your guests (and keeping them) on the dance floor.
Take a good look at your budget and decide how much you can spend on your entertainment. Remember that music is very important and you and your guests should have a variety of styles to choose from. If your band can deliver this that’s fantastic, check your budget and see whether you can afford this particular band.
Think about the lighting. This is crucial to creating the right mood. Instead of paying for additional lighting your band or DJ should provide this and you will have one less person to meet, communicate with and agree on the details. Ask what lighting can be offered in the package you are getting and what additional lights you may need. Most bands will have a good party light illuminating the band and some lights for the dancefloor, so be careful when you book a band, as it is not only the music you should be getting! DJ can prepare tailored lights and suitable room illumination that will suit the venue.
For additional effect, you can consider getting outdoor lanterns, or fireworks, but they require special insurance and permission from your venue and also should be prepared by professional staff. Some couples use sparklers as they look amazing at the photographs and do not require special permissions.
The most powerful tool DJ will have during your wedding is his microphone. The best DJs will ask you lots of very specific questions regarding your wedding including: names, introductions, songs, special dances, venue details and many other supporting questions just to be able to communicate with the guests and announce each part of your wedding properly. Do not underestimate this step, as your DJ should know almost everything about your wedding to make it work well and smooth. A good DJ will ask you to fill in either an online, or paper form, which he/she will use during your wedding. This is in your interest, as knowing the volume of events, some DJs play at this is the best way to ensure quality. Remember that every wedding is different (names, wedding order, songs, venue, other details) and the more details you provide the better chance you have to make it absolutely amazing. You should be able to meet your DJ if requested and fill in the form with them. Some people prefer to do it online as this process can trigger, or affect many other elements and require more information, or time than you think! Your booking form is often your contract, so take your time and pay attention to details.
The band may, or may not make required announcements, and in most cases, they will be there mainly to play their set and go home. In this case, you will require an additional MC. Every band need a break and will stop after a few songs, this may also affect the party unless they will play some music in the breaks. This may not be supervised and the tunes will most likely be played from the phone, or other portable audio player set on autoplay, so it is hard to dance to this unless you don’t mind any music in any order. The band may not take song requests, they are not a DJ. They play what they have prepared to play at your wedding, so you must agree on what songs they will play in advance. Also, remember that a live band will require more space than a DJ. This additional setting up space may be used for decorations or the cake but will play a major role in small venues. What’s also important when you hire a band is the singer. Remember that female singer will give you a more variety of songs they can sing. A male singer will be fine for a few songs, however, it will soon become very predictable, as most of the big wedding songs are done with using a female voice. It may sound strange when a man sings Abba or any of the recent UK Charts.
You will not have this issue with DJ and your music will sound exactly as you know it. The truth is the band can have a very positive impact on your wedding, but there is no point booking an inexperienced and inexpensive band as probably their performance will be disappointing (unless is a member of your family and will play song or two for fun). If you are on the budget It is better to have a good DJ, at least you know what you will get. Some people book a professional singer with backtrack music, but again this will work only for a couple of songs. The other option is live band slot (still costly), and leave the rest to the DJ. The choice is yours! Remember that the waiting time for some bands / DJs is one or two years, so start looking around early before it's too late!
15. Wedding dress. Feel and look fabulous, but don’t get stressed about it
Everyone wants to look amazing in their wedding photos, so if you’d like a confidence boost, now’s the time to adopt a healthy eating plan and practise a few simple exercises to feel and look better. On the other hand, going on an extreme diet is not a good idea. Just remember that your groom wants to marry you exactly the way you are, not a desperate who is trying to be someone else! Most brides usually end up in the first dress they like but if your budget is tight, don’t spend a fortune on the dress. Don't forget that you also need shoes, jewellery, bridal lingerie and veil - these will be dependent on the style of dress you have chosen. Best to get them from this same shop, but to save some money you can find them online, or in the local shop.
Finding your dream dress is never going to be easy, so start early! Buying your wedding dress is most likely one of the most exciting purchases of your life. With all the pressure to find ‘The Perfect One’, wedding dress shopping can be stressful and the choice overwhelming too. Nine to twelve months is the minimum amount of time you need to leave to find your wedding dress so you have enough time to order the dress in and for alterations. While we don’t recommend trying to lose a lot of weight for your wedding, if you plan to, don’t go dress shopping until you’ve reached that weight you have planned to reach.
16. Don’t fall for common beauty or arrangement mishaps
The most popular culprits in wedding world are too much fake tan, coloured–in eyebrows and too much foundation. There is a chance that you will need to wear slightly heavier make–up than usual to make your features stand out in photos, but don’t go too far. Try to look natural but beautiful, just like a bride should.
Unless it is you, who is supplying and decorating your wedding hall / room, refrain from changing anything in the last moment. There are many wedding guides on how to decorate any venue, making surprisingly budget-friendly decor ideas. Focus on other more important elements like your look and the wedding ceremony. Remember that your guests will love your venue, but the main person they want to see is you, not your venue!
Avoid cake collapse by having your cake supplier oversee the set-up of the wedding cake. If you see this happening on your day let your venue staff know to not to move your cake and leave it after it’s been positioned and arranged. If your cake is at the back, or in the kitchen do not let your family or friends join in the venue staff and help with its transport to the main reception room or hall.
17. Groom should have his responsibilities
A groom will have his ideas and opinions and will want a say in the planning process. Listen to what he says and remember that it’s his day, too. Most guys like to get involved with the lights, music and budget. A groom will want to spend his time in choosing the songs, DJ or a band. Most demanding grooms will be interested in fashion and would wear a pink, or yellow suit just to look different. What is more common is the groom’s interest in sport and his willingness to influence the shape of the event to ma, or add something to make the party more fun. The bride must not forget her groom, his passion, hobby, needs as well as the make it more relaxed. The one way of doing this is a dance-off or some other game during the wedding where a groom, close family and his friends can present their skills!
If you have guests, who are travelling and stay overnight Groom can use their IT skills and create cool door tags with a " please do not disturb. We were up all night celebrating with the newlyweds Mr. & Mrs ..." message.
18. Make it personal
Your wedding is all about the two of you, so try to incorporate as much of your personalities and your ideas into the day as you can. From the invitations, choosing your music, first dance, inviting right guests, the colour of the lights you want to see on the walls and the ceiling during your reception to special announcements thanking members of your family and friends in a special way. Why not ask your DJ or band for the microphone and do it yourself! This way you will make a huge impact and everyone will feel appreciated. Prepare small giveaways / wedding favours. These small “gifts” are personal and will always remind your loved ones of your wedding. Your wedding favours are a way of saying thank you to your guests; a small token of your appreciation for their sharing in your special day. Traditionally guests would receive a small bag or box containing 5 sugared almonds representing the five blessings of Health, Wealth, Happiness, Long Life and Fertility. Now, of course, your wedding favours can be almost anything to reflect your taste, budget and personality. You can still have fabulous favours if you’re on a tight budget! There are plenty of bargain options out there which could cost you as little as a pound.
There are many fancy IT systems modern DJs or Bands use, but remember that everybody is very busy and to get feedback on music preference from friends and family can be a real challenge. One of the smartest ways of making your wedding even more personalised is being inclusive and finding out what music your guests would like to hear on your big day. You can do it by adding "I promise to dance if you play: ..." message in the bottom of your RSVP invitation card. Once you have your RSVPs back collate the information, add your favourite songs (if you haven't done it during the booking process), filter out songs you don't like and send it to your DJ / Band email address! Your guests and family members will feel appreciated and valued as you allow them to influence your own wedding to some extent and let them dance to their favourite songs. Simple as that!
To make it even more personal you can create together on rather an inexpensive big framed poster with your love story on display for all guest and family. Everybody will be asking about the details and it is up to you to put dates and pictures representing your journey. Add some flowers around it and put it all on the stand for better presentation. Don't forget to give it a title, so people will know what it is!
19. Make lists and take notes
Most of brides and grooms have dreamed of their wedding day since they were children and while the details of those dreams might have changed, they have probably got an image in their head of how they want their wedding to look and feel. Some people want to go absolutely crazy and travel abroad, while the others will happily book their local function room and save up for the honeymoon.
There are countless ideas, themes and styles and it’s easy to get lost in the variety of choices, but it’s essential to decide what kind of wedding you want to before you start planning those details, which will change when you discover what else is available. The number of small things you can add or change is staggering, too often overwhelming.
With may venues and suppliers to deal with, each with different payment deadlines, it’s impossible to keep track of everything by yourself. What should be your priority is buying a folder and creating a list of things to do. Create a budget spreadsheet and keep in on your memory stick attached to your car keys, so you won’t lose it.
20. Don’t forget what’s most important
Wedding planning can be very tiring and stressful, especially when you are on the budget. If you will find yourself getting too caught up in it all, take a step back and remind yourself what your wedding is about – you marrying the love of your life!