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There are some questions that come up time and again when planning a wedding, so today I’m answering those questions in my very own wedding planner Q&A, I hope it helps you!

What is the ideal drinks reception timing?

I would suggest one and a half to one and three quarters of an hour. This gives your guests a chance to mingle, meet, chat and enjoy some drinks and appetisers. It also gives your photographer a golden opportunity to capture any formal shots and portraits of you as a couple (without making your other guests ‘hang around’). I’d suggest some form of background entertainment – a roaming band is a fab option. In general, the skeleton for a well run wedding day goes something around the lines of:

30–45-minute ceremony

1.5 hours drinks and canapes and music

2.5-3 hours dinner and speeches (add a little extra for cake cutting)

Evening cocktail hour followed by drinks and dancing

Speeches pre or post dinner?

This is entirely a personal preference. Tradition places these post dinner but, I have had many couples do this at alternative times. Pre dinner can allow the speakers a chance to the relax for the meal. Sometimes I’ve had speeches done as part of a rehearsal dinner the night before or as part of the drinks reception. There are no rules, I’d advise putting them where you feel they fit best in terms of flow for your day.

Top Table or no top table?

I personally like the concept of a top table – but, for me, the definition of this is simply the table where the Bride and Groom and their closest people are seated. Again, tradition stipulates a certain layout and who “should” be at the top table. I say, again, go with what you would like. Tradition doesn’t always make sense with modern family dynamics. I’d also love to add that a top table doesn’t have to be one long table with you all seated on one side facing your guests. In fact, I’m not an advocate of this – it feels somewhat formal and antisocial for those seated on it. Your top table can be a long trestle in the middle of the other rows, it can be a round table – you decide!

Who should walk down the aisle first?

A lot of my clients are American and prefer the bridesmaids and groomsmen to walk the aisle first in pairs to stand either side of the ceremony backdrop, before the Bride and Father of the Bride. My UK clients prefer the Bride to walk down with her father, followed by the Bridesmaids (with the Ushers already seated at the front of the ceremony location). Again, make your own rules!

How much time should I allow for getting ready on my wedding day?

This is entirely dependent on how many of you are getting ready. One flag I would make here is, if you have booked professional hair and make up for you and your wedding party, you need to factor in all that time. It will take 30-45 mins per person at least for hair and the same for make-up and around an hour for each (hair and make up) for the Bride. You will want to be ready and in dress around 15-30mins before you need to leave so work backwards from this. If you have 6 Bridesmaids and a 13:00 ceremony that will be an early start. Speak to your make-up and hair artist in advance to get their advised schedule.

How much should I budget for wedding flowers?

Always more than you think you should. The cost of amazing wedding flowers is the by far the most under-estimated cost when I speak to new clients, and they are essential to bringing style, colour, and ambiance to your wedding – as well as the joy they bring to your guests on the day. Anything lower than £5000 and you will struggle to make any form of impact and the further north of this you can stretch the better. That may sound a lot – but I would encourage you next time you are out and about to buy a beautiful bouquet and assess that cost, then multiply that by an estimate of how much you envisage to make your wedding pop. Then add the costs for the labour and design work of your florist. It adds up and, in my opinion, is so worth it. It’s what will transform your wedding style to one that every guest will remember.

Where can I get inspiration for wedding readings?

A quick Google search will throw out many resources when it comes to this. If you want to find something a little more personal, or unique, song lyrics can be a lovely go to, even a favourite book. You may also ask a guest to write one for you – my brother wrote one of our wedding readings and had it written up in calligraphy and framed for us as a gift.

There are loads of ways to add thoughtful and unique touches to your wedding day. A special favour for each guest, for example. I’ve worked with clients where we have had custom blankets made with a hand stitched label including the wedding date and the couple’s names. Others have offered out embossed beer koozies. A personalised monogram to appear on your wedding stationery adds a lovely detail and is unique to you. Table names and seating plans are another area where you can add your own personal touches – a story behind each table name is a nice one. I’ve had an escort card set up where we tied place names around mini bottles of home-made hot sauce. Food and drink theatre is an idea to explore with your catering team – a unique cocktail blended for your wedding day or a dessert grazing station with childhood dessert favourites, maybe a specialist gin bar as part of your reception drinks? If you are transporting people between ceremony and reception, why not think about your mode of transport – I’ve had Range Rovers, tractor drawn carriages, double decker buses, the iconic black cabs, depending on your venues, why not a boat?

Any other burning questions? Email me at and I’ll answer them in another post.

Jenna x

Special thank you to Laura Harvey and Lucy Davenport for the imagery


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