Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Do’s & Don’ts of Wedding Venue Searching

The Do’s & Don’ts of Wedding Venue Searching
Finding the wedding venue is one of the first things that couples usually check off their wedding planning list and as it’s often where a lot of the budget goes.  It’s really important for you to make sure your venue lives up to everything you dreamed of and that you are able to do everything that you want there. In today’s post I’ve put together a few “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to help make finding your dream venue easier.
Happy Planning!
Joy x

Do begin with discussing this important starter question; Civil Ceremony, Church wedding or even a jet setting destination wedding. Knowing the kind of ceremony you want plays a big part in your venue choice.

Do decide if you’d like everything all in one place or how far you are willing to travel between venues. 

Venue: The Millennium Gallery Image Credit: S6 Photography

Don’t forget about that budget! Keep it mind and try to stick to it.
Do think about the kind of style you’re after. Is it big rustic barn, a boutique hotel, a stately home, an outdoor marquee or tipi or a blank canvas village hall?
Do ask about capacity, you might not know exactly how many guests you’d like to invite initially, but if that cute village hall only accommodates 50 and you’ve got roughly 70 guests in mind, you might need to reconsider.
Don’t rule out having your wedding day on a weekday or not during peak season. Some venues offer discount for these dates, which is perfect if you’re on a tighter budget.

Don’t forget about your guests, the day is of course about you but it’s good to keep in mind where people are traveling from and if it’s going to be easy for them to get to your chosen venue.

Do make sure you check out the parking situation. Is there enough room for all your guests and check if cars can be left over night?

Do get out there and see the venues for yourselves and get a feel for the place. Many venues hold wedding open days where you can see the venue all dressed to impress and also speak to other local wedding suppliers.
Don’t forget to find out about accommodation. Are there rooms available for you and your guests on site or are there hotels and B&Bs near by?
Do ask to see a full break down of costs. Make sure you know what is included in the price do you have to pay for any extras such as corkage, chairs and tables, crockery etc

Do consider hiring an on the day coordinator, certainly if your venue is a blank canvas such as a marquee or barn. The idea of dressing your venue hours before the wedding might seem feasible but and extra pair of hands will sure take the pressure off. It’s also someone to take control of the day, in the absence of a venue manager.

Don’t forget the weather! If you’re having an outdoor wedding do you have alternative options if the heavens open? Does your wedding venue offer the option of an outdoor ceremony if the sun is shining?
Do check out the venues recommended suppliers not only for inspiration and to help with your other planning stages but also find out if you are tied to using them.

Do find out who your point of contact is in the run up to and on the big day itself. It’s nice to know there’s someone at the end of the phone when you need them and also knows the ins and outs of your wedding when the day arrives.

Don’t assume you can do anything you like décor-wise. Make sure you find out what you can and can’t do. Some venues might not allow hanging decorations, candles or confetti so it’s worth asking about. 
Do ask about the venues policy on loud music and when the wedding has to end. *sob sob*
Finding your perfect wedding venue is a huge chunk of your wedding planning sorted and once you know when and where your big day is going to be you can really start to shape your day. After all that searching you might be quite worn out so I suggest sticking the kettle on, putting your feet up and giving yourselves a high five!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Ultimate Newly Engaged Checklist

Image Credit: Jose Villa for the The Mrs Box

The question has been asked, the ring is on your finger, you’re both over the moon and basking in love and overwhelming happiness and I should hope that some champagne was popped at some point too! That’s right, you’re engaged! But what next? To save you from slipping into a wedding planning whirlwind I’ve put together the ultimate checklist for newly engaged couples. From the fun and exciting to the sensible and practical, this is the go to list for when you’ve just said, “YES!”

Happy Planning!

Joy x

1.  Tell the World!

Once you’re over the shock and it’s sunk in that you’re getting married to your beau, there’s no doubt that you’ll want to tell the other loved ones in your lives’ too. Whether it’s a phone call, a surprise ‘we’re engaged’ card, a series of intimate celebrations or a big get together to celebrate, everyone will be overjoyed to hear your news! Be prepared to relive and tell your engagement story more than once. When, where, how? Did you cry? Did you know? Have you set a date…? Marriage is such a wonderful event that everyone will want to hear all the details. Embrace this moment and don’t feel pressured into making any decisions, this is your time. Enjoy it!

2.  The Rock

You’ll most likely find yourself very aware of your new engagement ring. Playing with it, checking its still there, staring at it as it twinkles in the sunlight and the talking with your hands will be taken to whole new level! First things first, a few practicalities... get it insured! Although it’s irreplaceable, it’s something that makes good practical sense if the worst was ever to happen. Also, make sure the ring fits. Brownie points if he got your size right! Re-sizing doesn’t take a lot of time at all and you’ll usually have your sparkler back within a week or so ready to show off! In the meantime, why not treat yourself to ­­a manicure or a luxurious hand cream? Those hands will be getting a lot of attention so who can say no to a spot of pampering?

3.  Dates for your Diary

In the very early stages of wedding planning there’s no immediate rush to set a date but it’s always good to have an idea of when you’d like your wedding to be. Do you fancy a Spring, Summer or maybe a Winter wedding? Are there any dates that are special to you both? Do you want a long or short engagement? It’s also worth noting that weddings out of season or on a weekday can often be cheaper than those on let’s say, a Saturday in August. 

Image Credit: A Creative Mint

4.  Money Talks

Ah, the budget! It plays a huge part in wedding planning so it’s best to get on to the subject of money nice and early! Initially you should think about how much you want to spend and how much you can realistically save in the time you have and also if any family members will be contributing. At this stage you won’t know exactly how much your bridal bouquet or wedding dress will be and that’s ok. If you know you only want to spend X amount then that’s the budget you’ll work to and you can split up the budget further along the line. Always add in a little extra as a contingency, as the day draws nearer there will be little things you may have forgotten to account for – stamps for wedding invitations is always one!

                5. Be Inspired

Perhaps one of the most exciting and overwhelming parts of planning a wedding is choosing a style or theme. With so much inspiration our there it can be hard to choose, especially if you find yourself open to a range of ideas. Before leaping into a sea of pin boards on Pinterest, I’d recommend looking a little closer to home, after all your wedding day should represent you as a couple. What kind of style are you drawn to already? Have you traveled together? Do enjoy a certain type of food? What are your favourite colours or Eras? Does your ideal wedding venue lend itself to a certain style? Once you’ve chatted through your initial thoughts and ideas, then resources like Pinterest and wedding blogs will be a great place for inspiration. Don’t get hung up on your wedding not having a precise theme, just keep a few words or colours in mind and it’ll all come together.

6.  Priorities in Check

Firstly, let me assure you that there is no need to do everything at once! That’s a sure fire way to end up in a wedding planning meltdown! Instead make a list of all the elements of a wedding… Venue, catering, Photographer, Dress, Flowers, Styling, Transport, Stationery... Then have a honest discussion about the things that mean the most to you and start at the top. Where are you willing to invest a little more of the budget, where might you do a spot of DIY or what might you leave out completely? Be sure to book key suppliers early on to avoid disappoint. Many wedding suppliers can book up a year in advance, so if that photographer is on the top of your wish list, make that your priority.

So there we have it, the ultimate checklist for newly engaged couples! I hope that it has made things a little less daunting for you! If you need any help at any stage during your wedding planning, you know where I am.

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 Review / A year of incredible weddings / Unique Wedding Planning

2014 Review

2014 has been the most amazing year yet for Unique! 

From winning National Wedding Planner of the Year to dealing with the biggest wedding disaster turned success we've ever experienced!

We couldn't have done it without the support from some very talented suppliers and it always helps when you get to meet and work with such wonderful couples at the most stunning venues all year

Thanks for a really great year to everyone we've had the privilege of meeting


Monday, March 17, 2014

A unique thank-you / Unique Wedding Planning / The Wedding Industry Awards / Thank-you

A Unique Thank-you!

Wednesday 12th February

I was so pleased to have won the National Award for Best Independent Wedding Planner at The Wedding Industry Awards, that I wanted to say a massive thank-you to all the fabulous suppliers that support me ...On one of the most wet & windy nights of the year & in true wedding style determination, thanks to the many that turned out - I feel a bit of suppliers net-working (really partying!) is the future!

 Luckily the photos of us all don’t reflect just how bad the weather was! 

Some more stunning work from Candy! These went down a storm with everyone and tasted just as amazing as they look.

Luke Michael and his father Michael Moore performed a vocal set during the night; this got the night off to a brilliant start and built an amazing atmosphere! Everybody loved them!         

I was delighted to be joined by so many work friends.
Big shout out to all who made it.

Here goes -

A massive thanks to Leigh Mcara Photography for the images. 

We should definitely do it again soon!

Here’s to a fabulous start to 2014 at Unique Wedding Planning!

Joy x 

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Wedding Planing College / Unique Wedding Planning / Whitley Hall / The Peak Edge Hotel

The Wedding Planning College
Brides Night at
Whitley Hall & The Peak Edge Hotel

Stuck for inspiration? Bored of going to wedding fayres? Unsure how to start planning your day or fancy a DIY wedding but don’t know where to begin?

Bring your mum, your bridesmaids and all your girlfriends for a fun interactive night of wedding inspiration, demonstrations, top tips, discounts and gorgeous giveaways!


Cocktails and canapés followed by 2 hours of wedding tips and advice! Plus…

-          Hair and Make-up artist demonstrating how to choose the best look for your special day.

-          Floral demonstrations of this seasons trends and how to make your own centrepieces

-          Stylists guide on how to pull together your overall wedding colour & theme, including venue decorations, stationary and cost effective finishing touches.

-          Top 10 tips for a stress free day from The Wedding Planning College

-          Mix and Mingle with other brides and experts to chat about your day

-          FREE goodie bag & your chance to win one of the fabulous prizes available on the night


It’s back by popular demand! The first event will be taking place at The Peak Edge Hotel on Wednesday 19th March at 6.30pm

The second event will take place at Whitley Hall Hotel on Monday the 24th March at 6.30pm
… hurry there’s only a limited number of tickets!

The Event is hosted by myself & another award winning wedding planner – Lisa Hilliard

Hope you see you there on the night ladies!!

Joy x

Monday, January 20, 2014

Unique Wedding Planning - The Wedding Industry Awards - Best Wedding Planner (independent)

Unique Wedding Planning wins Best Independent Wedding Planner at the Wedding Industry Awards 2014 held at The Bloomsbury Ballroom - London

Unique Wedding Planning winning the Best Wedding Planner (independent) 2014 -
is the best start I've had to any New Year …. ever…. fact!  It's just such an honour & a great experience to meet the best of the best in the industry

After becoming a National Finalist in this year’s prestigious Wedding Industry Awards I couldn't wait to travel to London for the awards ceremony & famous after-show party! 

Hosted by Sky News’ Sarah Hewson and held at The Bloomsbury Ballroom in London, the awards recognise the very best in service, creativity, innovation, professionalism and passion

From gowns, flowers, hair and make-up to venues, transport, entertainment and photography, every winner was cheered by the 450 strong audience and everyone on the shortlist for each of the 24 categories had much to celebrate

1,250 companies entered the 2014 awards, with 23,000 votes cast by newlyweds which then decided the Regional Shortlist. These select few then went through another round of critical judging by an expert panel who decided the Regional Winners, before a final process of judging to decide last week’s National Winners

Damian Bailey, Founder of The Wedding Industry Awards, was thrilled with the evening and with the response to the awards themselves.
“This was our third awards and the standard of entrants was higher than ever,” continued Damien. “It’s becoming harder and harder to pick winners from such amazing shortlists where everyone demonstrates such skill.   It was great to celebrate everyone’s achievements and then party all night!”

An amazing night was had by all as many of the pictures reflect

I would just like to say a huge thank-you for all the feedback that my lovely couples sent in - I wouldn't have been able to do this without them & I’m grateful to them taking the time to vote. Thanks also to the Wedding Industry Awards team for organising such an amazing event & to the many suppliers who I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by

The feedback that I now have is really useful as it is an honest account of my service from real couples that have used it . I want to learn from it to drive my business forward as there's always something new to focus on & develop

One of my couples said - “I have given joy a score of 10 in every category because I literally cannot find one single fault with her fantastic service. As soon as we spoke on the phone for the first time she completely understood my vision of my perfect day. She knew which suppliers were right for my requirements - Amazing!”
Another Bride said if she had the money she would employ me as ‘a permanent fixture to organise her life’ and described me as ‘an absolute god send’

Here are a few Photos from the evening; I think you can tell we enjoyed it! After all – we work hard so we party hard too!

Thanks also to my very own Josh who I trained last year at The Wedding Planning College – He’s provided lots of valuable support in my busy months  - Also featured  having fun are the team at Stancliffe Hall, where I provide an outsource service for some of their couples


Big thanks to both Adby creative and LOOKLOOK photobooths for capturing some amazing images


Monday, December 23, 2013

Unique Weddings

What a fabulous year 2013 has been for Unique Wedding Planning.
I've had the absolute privilege to work for some wonderful couples at amazing venues

On every wedding, I've been surrounded by a team of very talented suppliers & have been lucky enough to use some of my established contacts but also meet new ones too

Thanks to everyone who's used my services & to the all the photographers who've shared these images. I'm so lucky to have been involved in all these weddings, doing a job that I love

If you would like to think about a career as a wedding planner , please check out -
www.theweddingplanningcollege.co.uk or contact me for more details

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to you all.

Joy xx 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Unique Wedding Planning / Winter Wedding / Unique Ideas / Inspiration

Winter weddings / Unique Wedding Planning / Unique Ideas

As the cold weather sets in & the summer is a fading memory we can cheer ourselves up by looking at all the possibilities a winter themed wedding creates

There are some totally stunning ideas that I've come across and some fantastic ways to create your very own winter wonderland.

I LOVE this styling

Bringing a touch of winter to an elegant table centerpiece

I really like the colour pallete used in these winter bouquets

Ideas for your wedding stationery

Something for the table, what about these really unique place card holders – if you had the time, they’d be so easy to make too

Something for the bride - Why not add some sparkle to your winter wedding with something eye-catching like these!

I found these ideas on Pinterest, which is a great way of capturing your ideas -  –
You can also follow me on there at  - http://www.pinterest.com/joyatunique/

Joy x 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Unique Wedding Planning / Unique Wedding Shows / Wentworth Castle Gardens / Wentworth Castle Wedding Show

Wentworth Castle Wedding Show

Sunday 10th November 2013

I couldn’t be any more excited about the wedding show taking place this weekend at Wentworth Castle Gardens in Barnsley – S75 3ET

It’s perfect timing as it coincides with the opening of the Victorian Conservatory which has been completely renovated over the last 18 months & will provide the perfect setting for your ceremony

There is a selection of hand-picked suppliers showcasing everything that you will need for your unique day – 
Here’s a selection of some of them from the show last year
Entrance to the show is completely free

Wentworth Castle Gardens is a stunning venue & I have been lucky enough to work on some amazing weddings there

Look forward to seeing you there on Sunday  - To pre-register & receive a Molton Brown gift, please email – joy@unqiqueweddingplanning.co.uk

Joy x