Don’t plan your wedding until you have read these top tips from wedding planner Carol Nyahasha

13th March

To create the perfect wedding day, it is important to be organised and to plan meticulously and methodically. If you are concerned about where to start and what you need to do, read our 15 step guide bought to you by Carol from Lily & Lavender Events, an event planning, styling and hire company based in Cross in Hand.

  1. So first things first, congratulations, you are engaged! Before you dive into your planning take time to enjoy the moment with each other and your loved ones.
  2. Set a budget. It is key that you decide how much you can afford to spend or actually want to spend. Work this out together and be realistic and transparent about your finances. This will include how much each of you is putting in, how much can be saved before the day and if there will be any family contributions.                 
  3. Decide on a date. Check whether your officiant or celebrant is available to conduct your ceremony on that date.  Then gather your thoughts, write a checklist and start doing your research.  I always suggest to my couples that they invest in a sturdy folder or binder to hold receipts, quotes, contracts, magazine clippings, inspirational images and emails etc. so you readily have that information to hand during your planning process.3.
  4. Find and secure your ceremony and reception venues. This will be determined by the date, maximum number of guests and of course location. We are spoilt for choice here in the Wealden area! Consider what sort of ceremony/reception you would like, whether you are getting married at the venue and if not, how far away is the church or registry office? Will you need accommodation for your guests and are you having just a traditional wedding breakfast and/or an evening reception?  Remember popular venues get booked up months in advance so secure your venue early. 
  5. Decide on your numbers. This will include your wedding party (maid of honour, bridesmaids, best man, groomsmen, ushers, flower girls and pageboys) and guest list. The guest list can easily spiral out of control – remember if you invite everyone you know, you have feed everyone you know!5.
  6. Catering and drinks – if the venue is supplying the catering, they will normally have menus based on a per head costing. If you are bringing in your own, decide on the style of food (buffet, plated meal, hog roast, food stations) and ensure your caterers come fully insured and certified.
  7. Choose a theme/style and book your suppliers. We have some lovely suppliers in our local area who I would readily recommend.  Suppliers to look into would include venue decorator/stylist, stationers, photographers, florist, transportation and cake makers – please hire recommended professionals and read your supplier contracts!
  8. Decide whether you would like a DJ or a live band – some venues have stipulations on this so be sure to ask when booking your venue.
  9. Say yes to the dress! Bespoke dresses can take months to make and a readymade one may require alterations so don’t leave this too late. Also order bridesmaid dresses and groomswear to compliment your stunning dress.
  10. Create a Wedding Gift List. This simplifies the gift giving process for your guests and ensures you receive what you want.  Nowadays you can create a fund for your honeymoon or you can have a gift list at your favourite store
  11. Send out your invitations. Get your stationery designed and invitations sent out 3-6 months in advance. “Save the date” cards (or e-cards) are a great idea too – these can be sent out once you’ve secured your venue. Also think about creating a wedding website to provide your guests with information about your big day.
  12. Check RSVPs and arrange the table plan – there are always guests that are slow to reply so consider handing this duty over to your wedding planner or a trusted person.
  13. Pre-wedding fun. Stag and Hen nights are traditionally arranged by the best man and maid of honour and bridesmaids, so hopefully that is one less thing for you to worry about.
  14. Finishing touches. Choose songs, readings, write speeches, thank yous for your wedding party and/or guests and make a timeline of how things will run on the day. Also don’t forget to book your honeymoon!
  15. Take some time out. Make sure to take a break from wedding planning in the lead up to your wedding – trust me, it will help.

Phew! If this seems a lot to do, consider whether you need a wedding planner for the whole process or just wedding day management.  This person can keep track of suppliers, keep everything on schedule and do all the tasks you won’t have time to do while you’re getting ready and having the time of your life.

Ultimately my advice is plan the day that you want within your budget and have fun with it and enjoy the moment when it arrives!

Enjoy your special day!













Carol Nyahasha lived in Africa and the US before settling in East Sussex.  Her strong work ethic, professionalism and attention to detail were honed in the legal field and she has bought all of this to her events planning company, Lily & Lavender. She has styled and designed weddings, and special celebrations including birthdays, anniversaries and intimate dinner parties, all over the UK and abroad. If Carol has any free time away from her family and running her business, she enjoys playing tennis and golf. Make sure to follow her on: Facebook – Instagram –

If you would like to meet Carol and her team, she will be at the Hidden Spring Wedding Showcase, Hidden Spring Vineyard, Horam on Saturday 24 March 2018.

Photography credits:  Alison Wonderland Photography (; Sarah Williams Photography (; Maria D’Souza Photography (; Emma Harrel Photography (