Wedding Planning – Our Top Tips
Nigel Davis, head of Chez Vous bespoke events based on the Costa Del Sol, gives his advice and his top tips for a wedding planning that you and your guests will never forget!
Be crafty – When it comes to wedding planning, you don’t need to buy expensive things to make a statement. Sometimes simple things from the countryside speak more than complicated and costly bling!
Lighting is key to a good-looking wedding. Focus lighting only onto the areas where you need light. The football stadium effect is not a good look for an elegant setting. Think spotlights on table centers and bars, ambient lighting/fairy lights in the surrounding trees, this is a sure fire way to create wonderland!
Budget – Wedding planning means you should make sensible choices especially at the start when you’ve decided on what to spend. You need to spread out your budget evenly. There is no point in buying those expensive invitations from New York and leave the rest of the wedding wanting. The job of a good planner is to advise you on where to spend your money wisely. There are a million and one things one doesn’t think about when hosting a party. Don’t be afraid to tell people your budget from the start. There are so many different levels of weddings, some go all out, some want to save a bit for the honeymoon. Whatever the case be open and trust your planner, you can always get a comparable quote elsewhere once you have been given an itemized budget, then ask questions. If you’re thinking of cutting items from your budget it is vital that you bear in mind the negative impact this could have on other areas of the wedding budget. What you need to get to the bottom of is value for money and not how cheap something is. 9 times out of 10 you get what you pay for. I recommend keeping a contingency budget of at least 3000 euros for those ‘just in case’ situations. Also insist that your planner gives you a copy of their Public Liability Insurance (Responsabilidad), make sure they are a legal entity here in Spain and that their insurance is paid up to date. If you don’t you could run the risk of losing your budget entirely plus also get in trouble with the authorities.
It is important to book the right entertainment. Think of all of your guests…
Create surprises – It’s important to keep you’re guests entertained. If you have different areas at your venue keep your invitees guessing. Close off the dinner area and the party area if you can. For example, if you book a solo singer for dinner, have them appear from a balcony or from behind some trees. These small pieces of theatre are the things that guests generally remember… and they cost nothing!
Entertainment – When wedding planning, tt is important to book the right entertainment. Think of all of your guests when choosing the music. The older generation will generally leave earlier than the young ones. If you have a band or DJ ask them to play the classics first so that everyone gets to dance to the music that they like. If you bring a band from abroad e.g. your home country bear in mind that you will need to pay for their transport and their hotels and food. Plus their technical requirements will be very costly unless they drive down in their own truck. This could be as expensive as their booking fee. Bear in mind that drums, keyboards, DJ decks, amplifiers, microphones and speakers will all need to be hired at this end. Bands will generally be quite nervous about playing abroad and will more often than not insist on the best and most expensive equipment to use. Insist on seeing your venue’s music license. If you make excessive noise and an angry neighbor calls the police you run the risk of your music being turned off completely!
Church Service – When wanting to have a church wedding bear in mind that it is not as simple here in Spain as in other parts of the world. The Catholic Church in Spain can be quite strict. In some parishes you and your partner will need to attend mass and make regular visits before you’re permitted to wed in Spain. You are also obliged to attend a marriage course either here or in your own country. If either bride & groom have been married before this will also be a problem. A good wedding planner will help guide you through this stage but be sure to leave a lot of time before the wedding date to complete paperwork, bearing in mind that this is a very slow process!
Menu – When choosing your menu again don’t blow all your money in one area. Choose a caterer which best suits your pocket. Your guests need to be fed and looked after but they are there to see you and not to experience Haut Cuisine. Don’t forget to have late snacks come round during the party, carbs are best when there’s alcohol involved as they help everyone sober up or carry on partying!
Timings – Make sure you arrive on time to the ceremony. Guests in suits cooking in the sun are not a great start to the day. Being late will also have a negative impact on the rest of the services especially the caterers! Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and make sure hair and make up arrives with at least half an hour to spare. Plan your speeches well and be strict before hand on their length and who will speak when. This is vital to the success of the meal!
Weather – Apart from it’s beauty, most people who decide to get married here on the Costa Del Sol do so for the climate and reliable weather. Saying that, during the months of April, May and even early June, September & October the nighttime temperatures can fall quite low. You will need to leave some budget for Patio heaters in this case. Try and go for the pyramid style ones with the glass tube as the flame will give off a nice effect at night. It can also rain here during these months so a Plan B budget needs to be set aside. Tents will need to be reserved with a holding deposit in advance. Bear in mind that during May & June it is ‘Feria’ time here in Spain and a lot of the local marquee companies will have their tents booked out for these, so your tent could arrive very late as every other event planner, bar and restaurant will be calling them to book theirs. September/October are much easier months to book marquees.
- Be a patient Bride – Try not to get hung up on the smallest details. Stand back and look at the bigger picture, you will only kick yourself after the wedding day and realize that it was so unnecessary. Remember everyone is there doing their best to make your day as special as humanly possible. If something doesn’t work out and your planner/provider is a legal entity you have every right to ask for a refund for the part which was lacking or substandard (and spend it on your honeymoon!). Whether you are religious or not, the day is simply about you and your partner declaring your love for each other and your family and friends are their to bear witness to this and to offer their support to you both for the rest of your lives together.
Nigel is head of Chez Vous Events, the leading production and catering supplier on the Costa Del Sol for all special events. To get in touch with him to discuss your requirement please email firstname.lastname@example.org.