Congratulations. You’re engaged. 😃 The first thing to do, of course, is to celebrate. And now that things have calmed down a little, it’s time to start planning one of the most special days of your life. But wait. Where do you even begin to start? What’s the first thing you need to think about? What should you book first? How far in advance do you need to plan? Planning a wedding is no easy task. But don’t worry, as I’ve asked leading wedding planner Doreen Winking to give us her expert advice. Read on to get Doreen’s amazing tips and have your Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide straight from the get-go. And then all you’ll have to do is get on with the job of enjoying every single moment of this beautiful time in your life.
In order to put together this ultimate wedding planning guide, I asked Doreen to answer 7 of the most important questions that brides have about wedding planning. Here are her answers:
Q1. What’s your advice to a couple who are about to begin planning their wedding? What are the first steps they should think about?
A: The very first steps are:
1.) Set a budget
2.) Choose a couple of possible dates, ideally 2-3
3.) Start working on your potential guest list
4.) Do some research and decide on your wedding venue
Everything else such as booking wedding vendors, detail and design inspiration comes at a later stage respectively, once you’ve set the date and have confirmed your wedding venue.
Q2. How far in advance should they begin to plan their wedding?
A: It really depends on the availability of venues but I would advise to begin with your wedding planning at least 6-12 months in advance.
Q3. Are there any particular trends that are popular right now?
A: Some bling-bling for the stationery is a big trend right now. This could be gold, silver or copper foil. As for flowers, big is beautiful. Think Boho-inspired. Or the “just picked” type of style is also popular right now., depending what’s in season. Barns remain a strong venue trend for 2017. As for music, a mix of live music and a DJ is also popular.
Q4. Can you tell us what the role of a wedding planner is?
A wedding planner performs a service and remains a neutral party. Your wedding planner will search for the right venue, vendors or products for you. This will, in turn, prevent you from feeling stressed, as you won’t have to handle any of these things yourself. This is absolutely priceless in the build up to your wedding.
Q5. What are the benefits of having a wedding planner rather than trying to plan things all by yourself?
A: The media has glamorised wedding planning! They make bridal couples assume planning a wedding means you choose a venue, the cake, a wedding dress and flower arrangements and that everything runs completely smoothly and stress-free thereafter. But in reality, this is not the case.
I do lots of weddings and have a versatile, solid, experienced, and reputable network. My vendors and I do the utmost to impress YOU and your guests and we strongly believe you should enjoy your wedding. Your happiness is my goal.
Yes, a wedding planner is an added cost. But, we can save you the most precious thing you have – TIME!
Q6. There are a lot of international couples living here in Munich. What advice do you have for them on where they should begin their wedding planning here in Germany? Are there any extra steps they need to take? (eg: extra documentation, dealing with language barriers)
A: My top piece of advice here is to get help from wedding professionals and don’t waste time with admin or language barriers. It will save you so much time and stress in the long run.
Q7. Whether you’ve hired a wedding planner or decided to do it all yourself, either way, planning a wedding can be a stressful task. Have you any advice on how to avoid some of the stress leading up to your wedding?
A: My top tip is to make it your own wedding and don’t involve too many people.
I also have a piece of advice for the bride-to-be. Try not to talk about your wedding for a couple of days. You usually plan your wedding over a long period of time and the groom-to-be, as well as your friends, will appreciate it. There is a future beyond your wedding day.
If you have booked a wedding planner then let her/him handle all the details, phone calls, confirmations and nitty-gritty. They will happily manage all the vendors, projects and emails that need to be sent in the month leading up to your wedding. It’s also THE reason why you hired them. If you don’t have a wedding planner, ask your family, maid of honour or the best man for help.
I also suggest taking the week of your wedding off from work to really be able to relax and kick back! This is a celebration of the beginning of your marriage and you should go into your wedding weekend stress-free.
Overall I believe having a wedding planner can make your wedding experience so much easier and enjoyable for all involved.
Now let’s get to know Doreen a bit better
Doreen Winking is a wedding planner based in Munich, Germany. She has over 10 years experience working in the wedding industry. She’s planned the beautiful weddings of hundreds of couples at stunning locations all over Germany and Austria. Her gorgeous work has been featured several times in prestigious International and German blogs and publications such as Green Wedding Shoes, Style Me Pretty, Hochzeit Magazin and Hochzeitsguide, to name but a few.
Q1. What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve ever planned?
A: Ahhhh, there are so many beautiful and memorable weddings. But I guess my most special wedding was an Alice in Wonderland themed winter wedding in Kitzbühel, Austria. This is still unique and very special. It was also ranked as THE Top 4 wedding in 2012 on Green Wedding Shoes. You can see the all of the photos from this very special wedding here.
Q2. What’s your favourite part of a wedding?
A: When the bride walks down the aisle. After all these years, that moment still gives me goose bumps.
Q3: What’s your favourite part about being a wedding planner?
A: My favourite part about being a wedding planner is the feeling that I have the best career in the world because I’m able to do what I love. I love that I’m allowed to share such a beautiful and memorable day with two special people, their families and their friends.
Q4: How did you become a wedding planner?
Following a career in International business management, I decided in 2007 it was time for a change. Doreen Winking Weddings was established out of a desire to further compliment my existing interests and skills, as well as to meet the growing demands of a more sophisticated and discerning market.
You can find out more about Doreen and see all of the stunning weddings she’s planned here on her website. Doreen is also multi-lingual. She’s a native German speaker and she speaks fluent English too. So if you’re an international couple living in Germany and need help organising your wedding here in Germany, I highly recommend you speak with Doreen first.
Thank you so much, Doreen, for these really fantastic tips. This wedding planning guide will be so helpful if you’re at the planning stage of your wedding. And if you want to take the stress out of planning your wedding and just get on with enjoying the build up to one of the most special days of your life, you can find out more about the fabulous wedding planning services that Doreen offers here.
I hope you loved these wedding planning tips as much as I did. And if you’re ready for the next stage of your wedding planning, be sure to check out this post about your wedding photography as well as this one about choosing your bridal makeup and hairstyle.