The wedding planner… – Fiona Owens

Wedding Setup

If you’ve recently become engaged but haven’t a clue where to start organising your dream wedding, then let SO Magazine do all the hard work for you. Here, award-winning wedding planner Fiona Owens reveals the ultimate to do list so you can say ‘I do’…


According to UK Weddings, over 41,000 ceremonies take place in the southeast of England every year. Two of the most popular local venues are Salomons Estate and One Warwick Park Hotel.

At last year’s Kent Wedding Awards, Salomons was named Wedding Heritage Venue of the Year, while the previous year its wedding planning team won Events Team of the Year. So it’s fair to say that they certainly know their stuff when it comes to planning the perfect nuptials.

Here’s all the information and inspiration you need when tying the knot…


Get your priorities right

The first things to consider are your budget and the guest list of people you would like to attend your day.

With regard to your budget, ensure you prioritise the things that are most important to you on your wedding day. For example: the photographer, food and décor.


Be practical

Create a spreadsheet to keep track of payments, deadlines and everything you need to book and organise.

It’s always worth asking friends and family for help as you may have a creative pal who could create your table plan and name cards or put you in touch with a reliable specialist supplier.


Decisions, decisions

Book your venue first. Once you have this in place everything else will follow.

We recommend sending out your ‘Save the Dates’ no later than 12 months prior to the event and formal invites no later than six months before the event.

Book in your photographer and videographer if you’re having one as soon as you can, as both can get booked up well in advance.


Venue checklist

Top things to look for:

  • Onsite accommodation or nearby accommodation
  • Are there any additional fees (i.e service charge) that you need to be aware of ?
  • What does the venue provide? Do you need to source your own cutlery, crockery, linen?
  • Do you have to use the venue’s suppliers or are you able to use whichever you want?
  • Is there flexibility in the packages offered from the venue? In other words can you adapt the menu to choose you?
  • Are there good photo opportunities on the inside of the venue, as obviously you can never guarantee the weather!


Try before you buy

Ensure your venue or caterer holds wedding tasters for you to sample the food and its quality.

If you are having additional evening guests, ensure you cater for them, too. Salomons recommend catering for no less than 80% of your evening numbers, as once people have a drink then they are likely to want something to eat.

Most weddings do go for the formal, seated wedding breakfast, but to be honest it’s up to YOU!

It could be an informal BBQ, a pizza van or interactive carved roast at the table!

Salomons Estate is holding its Weddings Showcase on March 12 from 10am to 2pm.

To register your interest for the event, or for any other information about weddings at Salomons Estate or One Warwick Park Hotel, please contact us at:

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