Lots of Lovely Planning Tips – Part One


At the very heart of A Whole Lot of Lovely is the idea of creating something meaningful to you, and something special for the people you care about.

So in these series of posts I want to share with you some little pearls of wisdom on how you can plan your special day in a way that will be meaningful to you, wow your guests and help create special memories that will dance on long after your party has ended!

Every day in my work I make memories and create something special for my clients. In this series of posts I will let you delve into the little secrets I use in my work that you can use when planning to create the same end result – something meaningful, unique and totally you.

Whilst this series refers often to planning a wedding, Lovely Planning Tips applies to planning any special occasion. So read on to begin your planning journey…


The first rule of planning anything is to ask yourself a few little questions to make it easy to start off your thought process. Humour me, and let’s play make believe. Let’s pretend we’re on one of those murder mystery evenings (stay with me on this one!) You would want to ask and work out the answers to five basic questions…

What? Who? When? Where? and Why?

Ok, so let’s forget Professor Plum in the study with the candlestick, and step away from my rather random murder mystery analogy, and turn this in to something tangible about making something meaningful for you.

Before I start work for a client, I try to understand what is behind those five W’s. It helps me get to know them – understand who they are, what they like and guides the direction I take with their design process. To plan your celebration I’d suggest you do the same. Below are 7 key questions, to have a think about before you start planning your celebration…


1. What – What Kind of Wedding / Celebration do you want?

Ask yourself what kind of celebration you would like. What feeling would you like it to have? Are you looking for a formal affair, something with grandeur or is your preference something more relaxed and informal? Would you want a big party knees up, or is a laid back, relaxed celebration more your style? How do you want the day / evening to make you feel? How would you like your guests to feel? By considering this right at the start, it will give you a point to work from in your planning and most importantly it will ensure that your starting point is from a place that is totally YOU.

2. What – What is your Budget?

Ok, so this is the second what and it’s a biggy. It is really important that you set yourself a realistic budget and stick to it, you don’t want to get into debt to be able to hold your celebrations. Given the importance of this topic, we’ll explore it in more detail in a separate post. For today, it’s enough to know you need to consider how much you have to spend before you start the planning process. The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to wow your guests and create lasting memories. A thoughtfully planned celebration will give you just that regardless of budget.

3. What – What is Important To You?

A third what… the last one I promise! By thinking about what is important to you, you stamp your personality all over your celebration. There’s no better way of making it so YOU. By deciding what is important you will find it easier to prioritise. Think about which elements of your celebration will have the most importance. If music is a big part of your life then entertainment might be a big part of your day. If you love your food the catering and food options would be a key area for you. Make a list of every element of your celebration (you can find a list here from my Pinterest Boards) and number each area in order of importance to you – cross out anything that you’re not interested in at all. This will allow you to prioritise your planning (and your budget) and keep you on track over the coming weeks.


4. When – When Would You Like to Get Married or Hold Your Event?

Thinking about when to hold your wedding or event, will help your planning process. First think about the seasons, and the time of year you’d like to choose. Which season might lend itself to the type of celebration you had imagined in your ‘What’? It could be that there is a particular time of year you love or that holds special meaning for you -think anniversaries, birthdays, if you’re getting married – the day you met.

There might also be particular dates you want to avoid… make sure you are aware of public and religious holidays, and consider the price impact of choosing specific dates such as New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day.

Be realistic as often with larger celebrations, your budget may dictate the timing you choose. Consider how long it will take to save the money you will need. If you are working to a tight budget, consider the day of your event too – lots of venues offer cheaper prices for off peak days and off peak times of the year.


Be mindful of what feeling you wanted to give your guests – does what you’ve decided do that? If you were planning on a big knees up and you know your family love a party, it might not be the best idea to hold your special day mid week when people will have to work the following day… think about your guests whilst keeping in mind your own preferences. By keeping in mind the ‘What’ through each of these stages you’ll keep on track and maximise the experience for your guests.


5. Who – Who Would You Want to Invite?

Yes, yes, yes, I did say that these were the questions to ask before you start planning… however drawing up a preliminary guest list early on will help you through the planning process. You need to know roughly how many guests you would like to attend each part of your celebrations, as this will dictate other choices you need to make later. There is no point having your heart set on a venue which can’t hold the number of guests you will need to invite on the day.

To make creating your guest list easy, break your guests down into family, friends from school, friends from university, workmates, and most importantly think about who you want to share your special celebrations with. You will be paying for these people, so only invite people you are happy spending money on. Consider whether you would like children as part of your celebrations. Think about whether you would like to invite your single friends and family to bring a ‘plus one’. This can sometimes be an area people are unsure about – if you’re unsure have a read of this great post from Project Wedding ‘Should I Invite Plus-Ones’.

When thinking about your ‘who’, if you’re getting married it can also be a good time to consider who you might want in the wedding party – who will be your best men, bridesmaids and ushers?

Getting an idea of your guest list early on will allow you to make informed decisions that will allow you to create something special.


6. Where – Where Would You Ideally Like to Do This?


You’ve got your whats, your when and your who, so now for the where… where geographically do you want to hold your celebrations? Would you like it to be where you live now, or maybe you want to have it where you grew up, or close to your family? Do you want your celebrations in this country or abroad? If you a considering whether to marry abroad there is a great article on Barefoot Bride called ‘Is it For You?’ - have a read.

If your event is a wedding, did you see yourself marrying in a church or in a civil ceremony? Remember to think back to your answers in WHAT – make sure your location choices fit with that.

7. Why – Why Are You Doing This?

If I could offer one piece of advice throughout planning a special celebration, it would on this point alone. Keep focused on why you are celebrating – keep that at the heart of your planning process. With every decision you make, dilemma you encounter or awkward guest you deal with, remember what the end game is and keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. At the end of it all, it’s not what the party is like… its what the celebration is for. Keep that at the heart of your planning and doing, and you will create something truly memorable and special.

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You know what? You’ve done it! If you weren’t sure where to start to plan a special celebration, by answering those key questions, you’ve just made your first steps on your planning journey …and you just thought you were reading my blog! ;-)

The best thing is by thinking in this way at the very beginning of our journey, you are on the road to making your celebration personal to you. If it’s personal to you, it’s memorable to your guests, and by considering how you want them to feel, you’re well on the road to creating something meaningful and special for them to share.

Next week we’ll be looking more at how to bring personality and meaning into your celebration planning. But for this week I’ll leave you with your Lovely Planning Top Tips keepsake card, that you can Pin onto your Pinterest Boards using the Pinterest button below (or print out and keep if you prefer to keep it old school).


I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on today’s post – leave a comment and let me know whether this has helped, and which areas of planning you’d like more pearls of wisdom around.

Emma xoxo

{ Image Credits: All photographs featured in this post are from the wonderful photographers at Photo Love Photography - a big thank you to them for allowing me to share some of their stunning wedding photography with you in today’s blog post! }