Alexis' Journal

A marquee set for a wedding with Louis style white chairs and huge green and white floral designs.

What it takes to create an epic wedding

December 23, 202310 min read

"When I walked into the marquee, it took my breath away. It completely blew all my expectations away, all that we had talked about was nothing compared to what I was looking at! I trusted you implicitly but I could never have expected it in my wildest dreams!"

10 steps to creating an epic wedding

We all do it right? We scroll through Insta and swoon over all the hundreds of amazing images of the weddings posted there. Glamorous, full of florals, the details that are there to surprise & inspire us! We pin and we follow, in the hope that we too will create something with a WOW for our dream day. But where to start?

What does it take to create such an epic wedding? How do we go from a blank page to an insta reel that blows up the grid? Well, this summer we did just that and I am going to share with you now just what it took and the journey to that bloody fabulous day that everyone involved will remember..... forever!

Ten steps we took to create an epic wedding for Greta & James this summer......

Marquee wedding view from top table

1. Getting to know each other

Before we did anything, we had to get to know each other. I needed to get an understanding of what they loved, what they didn't love, their home, their style, their personalities, what is important to them..... you get the picture!

Then we start talking weddings! I wanted to hear all their ideas so far for their day; the look, the feel, the vibe, what they had always had in mind....

With Greta & James we spent quite a lot of time with them and their family talking things through & coming up with ideas. Friday night dinner was my favourite, there was always at least 10 people around the table & there was always a gin or two involved!

It allowed me to really get to understand exactly who they were and what they expected. They knew they wanted it at Greta's family home, in the gardens so immediately we had a solid and rather amazing starting point. Think classic English country garden fully equipped with lake and woodland.

The garden was gorgeous but the area where the tent needed to sit (due to the fact it was flat & gave us the size we needed) was landscaped with borders full of shrubs and flowers. We knew we had to work around as much as we could but we did have to strip out quite a lot (from someone who adores gardening, I wept at the sight of the empty borders that once were brimming with gorgeous perennials!). In order to create an epic entrance, we utilised the box hedge as part of the design (see image below), so it was used as a walkway to the entrance of the tent, splitting it into two for dinner and evening party. I started to form a snapshot in my mind of how the day would look. This then takes me forward......

Before & after - wedding marquee

2. Getting an initial snapshot

With that initial snapshot I scribbled down exactly what it looks like - both in note form and imagery using Pinterest & AI mood boards to realise this image in mind.

With G & J we created these pinterest boards and sent them over to them to see how they felt and if we were on the right path. They LOVED them, but as a planner it is difficult to explain exactly what we are going to create because it has never been done before, so there is nothing out there to reference exactly. And with me every wedding is unique, so there has to be a level of trust there that I will be all you want and more. Greta her herself admits she has to see something to truly understand and visualise it so this part of the process was tricky, but she was great at putting her trust in us.

Pinterest boards for initial concepts & ideas

3. Big Day Fact Find

This is such a great session.... with G & J we sat in that kitchen over those G & T's and lots of laugher. We went through every element from ceremony, vows, hymns, entertainment, photograpy, etc. We talked about what they want, what they love, I throw in who would be perfect to create this that and the other, ideas get bigger, and this is where we started to create something magical.

4. The Big Plan

As a planner this is where we really thrive. Matching the right suppliers up to the task and the client. Creating the flow of the day, getting the build up just right, the logistics, the timings of the day. With G & J the celebrations were all within the same location which makes things a lot simpler. It was a case of zoning the gardens out for guest arrival and drinks reception, champagne tower, dinner, cocktail hour & evening party. The marquee also needed zoning & access not just for the guests but also for the catering team was a huge consideration, catering routes, power, guest numbers, wow factors ..... it's what makes us the experts right!

5. The Big Design

With the logistics in place, now we needed to make it all look fabulous! We knew where the guests would enter, where the key spots were that would be high touch points to plan the wow details there. With Amy at Ava Event Styling (my collab partner on all marquee weddings) she came up with the choice of florals to work as part of the garden, to look like it had all always been there. The black and white that Greta had initially wanted was introduced into the chargers, the cutlery and the table stationary. It was all created and put into a proposal document.

Black & white wedding stationary

6. The Blueprint

Back in that kitchen again, we presented our blueprint to Greta & James. With costs, supplier choices, timing plan & budget schedule we talked through the lot. Together with a design proposal of all the items that would go into it, the choice of flowers, chairs, linens, tableware .... it was all in there. Greta & James were able to tweak certain elements & made their final choices on it all. It's started to feel very real. It was at this time that Stavros Flately had to go but made way for Nino the Violinist, who raised the party to another level that night!

7. Securing

Booking all in, I love knowing I'm going to be working with all these awesome professionals! Deposits were paid with balances usually due 4 - 6weeks before the big day. Top tip to manage your budget & make it go a little further, avoid all you balance payments going out in one go, ask to make stage payments or stagger the balances before and after the big day.

8. Creating the Production Schedule & The Wedding Manual

The wedding manual is without doubt an absolute essential piece of kit, especially when there are so many suppliers involved with the day. For Greta & James this was over 35 pages long! The manual includes a list of locations (including postcodes), catering plans, guest list (by table and in alphabetical order), music lists, duties, payments, table plans and the most important - the Production Schedule. This is more than a running schedule of the day, this starts from the moment set up begins to the last plate is packed away! As we were dealing with a marquee set up, it began on the Tuesday (for a Saturday wedding) scheduling in the arrival of the generator and marquee set up day 1. It lists minute by minute supplier set ups, locations, every supplier & every element accounted for so that everyone is in the right place at the right time and every detail is planned & executed to perfection. It is a great way to see all the plans in one document knowing that it will all flow without any glitches or those nasty gaps that we all dread at weddings!

9. Two weeks before

As a planner, the day itself is the final hurdle in what has in most cases been months, sometimes years of preparation, brainstorming, sourcing, meetings, orders....... not to mention the emails, phone calls, the change of direction, the swatches, the samples, the fabrics, the warehouse visits (that are very cold). Then there's the no personal life whatsoever in the few weeks before the wedding day....... I think you get it!

So when it comes to the big day, when finally all our work comes together in one epic experience...... that is when we breathe!

10. Today is the day!

As a planner, the day itself is the final hurdle in what has in most cases been months, sometimes years of preparation, brainstorming, sourcing, meetings, orders....... not to mention the emails, phone calls, the change of direction, the swatches, the samples, the fabrics, the warehouse visits (that are very cold). Then there's the no personal life whatsoever in the few weeks before the wedding day....... I think you get it!

So when it comes to the big day, when finally all our work comes together in one epic experience...... that is when we breathe! I always feel nervous on the inside (not because I am worried about anything but because I care so much, I want to make sure this is the best day we had planned for Greta and James and their family). All those who know me say I'm that swan - calm on the surface but it's all going on below!! The day was a long one, my feet took a few days to recover but boy was it worth it!

Bride & groom first dance & champagne tower

Watch the trailer created by the incredibly talented

Vogue Wedding Films:

Create your own Wedding Planning Timeline:

Here is a quick timeline to get you started with your wedding planning. Remember imperfect action beats inaction, just get started the rest will follow......

  • Agree on your Budget & identify your priorities

  • Get your date booked & start working back from there

  • Brainstorm all your ideas, all you have always wanted - get it all down on paper, Pinterest or Mood board

  • Reach out to suppliers for quotations - 3 suppliers per element is perfect

  • Finalise your decisions & get those deposits paid & contracts signed, agree balance payment dates

  • Start working on the design, find a stylist & florist that shares your vision & is able to help you achieve it

  • Draw up your Production Schedule & confirm all with final suppliers

  • Hire a On The Day Co-ordinator to manage your day so you can enjoy it!

Thank you to all my amazing and talented suppliers who made this all possible:

Planner: Alexis Wedding & Event Planning

Florist & Stylist: Ava Event Styling

Flowers: Anna Brown Flowers / Q Flowers Wholesale / Irish Green Guys

Photographer: Catherine Bradley Photography

Film: Vogue Wedding Films

Marquee: DJ Marquees

Chairs: Chairman Hire UK

Linens: The Linen Hire

Tableware: Whitehouse Crockery / Options Great Hire

Candle Favours: Cotswold Candle Company

Stationary: Junie Poonie

Catering: Cornerstone Kitchen

Wedding Cake: Ben The Cake Man

Live Band: Twenty One Events

Guitarist: Ben Drummond

Saxophone: Andy Sax

DJ: Jukebox DJ

Singer: Ali Weddings

Hair: Bridal Hair Specialists

MUA: Minnie Bella

Bride Dress: Alan Hannah / Wedding Belles

Bride Veil: Savin London

Bride Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Bride Evening Dress: Nadine Merabi

Groom Suite: Peter Posh

Groom Shoes: Christian Louboutin

Bridesmaid Dresses: Meshki

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Alexis Walker, I love you!

"From our very first meeting we knew you were the one to create our special day. You made us feel incredibly relaxed & we knew you understood our vision straight away. I never once felt stressed or out of control, you are so meticulous in everything you do.

During the pandemic you were our pillar of strength & you never once asked us to compromise on our dreams. I cannot thank you enough, you truly are simply the best."

Charlotte & James Henderson

"The first time we met Alexis we instantly felt happy & excited, she had such a lovely warmth. We were so surprised as to how much was to be considered & planned, it would have been so overwhelming had we not had you.

During the process we felt totally guided & supported. Our wedding day was perfect, every detail, every dream came to life that day & I will never be able to thank you enough.

Your team of professionals is exceptional & you all went that extra mile no matter the time of day that email landed!"

Yvette & James George

"What an utterly amazing job you did to create the most spectacular wedding possible. There are no words to explain how we felt when we walked into the room for the first time, it took my breath away.

Every dream, every expectation was completely blown away.

I will never be able to thank you enough for bringing to life all I have ever dreamt of. Alexis Walker, I love you!"

Caroline & Simon Barrows

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