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Mark Niemierko’s guide to wedding planning

The luxury wedding maestro shares his ultimate wedding planning tips with us, from budget and flowers to catering and photography

13 June 2023

Mark Niemierko, the founder of luxury events company Niemierko, is the man behind some of the most lavish and gorgeous weddings produced in the UK and abroad. If you want a truly opulent wedding, designed to delight your guests and be a uniquely memorable day for the bride and groom, he’s the man you want at the helm. 

He has pulled off extreme feats of creativity and logistical manoeuvring, making the nuptial dreams come true for his exclusive list of clients, including couples like Julia and James Corden and Rochelle Wiseman and Marvin Humes. 

Mark’s mantra when it comes to weddings is ‘practical first, pretty follows’, so we asked him to share his ultimate advice on planning the perfect wedding, from engagement to honeymoon. 



The first thing you need to do is enjoy that and celebrate it. Straight off, I always tell my brides to just calm the hell down. Everyone will have an opinion [about your wedding] but this is a special time for the two of you; you should take a moment to enjoy that before getting wrapped up in wedding planning. 



When you’re ready to start planning, the two of you need to sit down and think about what I call ‘the five fundamentals’. This isn’t the time to start focusing on details. 

All I want to know at this early stage are five main things: When? How many people? Where? What kind of ceremony? What’s the rough budget? All of these are really about getting the venue locked in.



It’s fine if you are but, if you are fixed on a particular Saturday in a year, you need to know that you’re going to limit the number of options you have available to you. Could you be open to a whole season? A whole month, even?



Try to be as accurate as you can. A huge range like “50-150 people” is just not helpful because you are going to look for venues that will fit the upper limit. Narrow the range down to something like 30-50 people, 50-100 or 200-250. 



Are you thinking of a London wedding? Are you thinking countryside or are you thinking destination? 

Everyone assumes that a countryside wedding is cheaper. It’s not. I feel that with a countryside wedding, you need to lay on a little bit more for your guests than you would with a city wedding. 

For a city wedding, you can kind of leave people to do their own thing. Especially somewhere like Chelsea, where there’s so much going on you can get away with not babysitting your guests as much. You can give them a whole list of local suggestions to enjoy; Send them shopping on Sloane Street, for lunch at Cantinetta Antinori, sushi at the Fuji Grill or to see something at the Saatchi Gallery. 

I love the Cadogan Hotel. If you or your guests are staying there, you will have access to the private, gated Cadogan Place Gardens, which are just lovely. 



We have recently had two weddings at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. I feel that out of all the hotels in London, it’s one of the most regal. From the private Royal Entrance from Hyde Park to the grand ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the park, it’s all so chic. 

My parents actually got married in Chelsea and so have many celebrities and rock stars, so the neighbourhood has that history. 

Chelsea has a lovely intimacy to it; it has a romance to it, from Sloane Square to the King’s Road and Sloane Street, Chelsea has a unique charm.  



What type of ceremony do you want? Religious – do you want a church? Holy Trinity on Sloane Street, with its Arts and Crafts interior, is truly beautiful. Do you want to get married outdoors? Will your ceremony take place at the same place as your wedding breakfast? This is quite a key decision. 

If you are getting married at a registry office, it’s really important to book the registrar as soon as possible because they can get booked up very quickly, especially in Chelsea.


Not everyone knows their budget straight away and that is fine. It’s very hard to budget a wedding at a very early stage. And, if you’re English, we don’t like talking about money, do we? So just get it out of the way. Knowing how much you can spend gets rid of much ambiguity and conflict, and can help you make decisions on suppliers down the line.  



It’s really good to be honest with yourselves about your budget. Your wedding must be relative to your financial status. Don’t get yourself in debt for your wedding. 



When you start looking at venues, you are going to get flustered so start keeping notes of all the details. Smythson has lovely notebooks for keeping track of the details. 



Once it’s booked, you’ll feel such a sense of relief, and then you can start working on a more realistic budget and move on to other aspects.



This mini schedule will become your running order for the wedding day and will be indispensable. Set up a table in a document and start filling it with details and timings. What time is your ceremony? How long will it be? Put in time for your formal photos, the drinks reception, and dinner, with times for speeches, cake-cutting and dancing. 

This schedule will change again and again throughout the process – it’s not set in stone. But it’s good to start getting an idea of the timings. Remember, practical first…



My advice on guest lists is that it’s not about returning favours. I think couples need to remember that their wedding is a celebration of them, their relationship and – as corny as it sounds – their love. Some people feel they need to tick boxes when it comes to the guest list. 

If you post about your engagement on Instagram, you need to be prepared for messages and texts asking when you are thinking about the date – even from people you wouldn’t consider inviting. The best thing to say is that you’re keeping it to just immediate friends and family – even if you’re not. 

But if your parents are contributing financially to the wedding, unfortunately, you do need to give them a set amount of people to invite and you are going to have to just suck that up.



When it comes to getting the wedding party into play, I think less is more. I’m personally not a fan of loads and loads of adult bridesmaids. I think there’s nothing classier than just having a maid of honour, a best man and a bunch of children walking down the aisle and leaving it at that. Have as many children [in the wedding party] as you want; they’re adorable. Throw in a dog as well – why not? 

But if you are the bride that wants 11 adult bridesmaids, go for it. Just be you. But I do think that, in the UK, you have got to buy their outfits and that’s a budget matter, too. 

And work out who you will ask to do any readings during the ceremony.



We live in an age where no one writes to each other with pen and paper anymore so no one has anyone’s actual addresses – a digital save-the-date is efficient at getting this sorted. Paperless Post really is the best for this. 

When you send the save-the-date, you can request your guests’ physical addresses. You may not send the invitations for another six months, but get this done because getting the invitations finalised and printed can be a slog of a process.


Strangely, they get booked up quite far in advance so get that done fairly soon. Obviously, you will stalk them a bit on Instagram and on their websites, but it’s good if you can ask to see one whole wedding from start to finish so that you know that the photographer is consistent. Chat with them, get a feel for them. 

But don’t book any albums or anything like that now. You can do all that later. Just make the bookings at this stage. 



There are a few suppliers that you need to actually like because they are going to be around you on your day. 

You need to like your planner if you’re using one, your hair and makeup team, and your photographer. If you don’t like us, it’s going to be a bit awkward. These are the people that you will really actually engage with on the day, and who will be around you, particularly in the moments before you get married, which can be a very emotional moment.

The videographer and florist are more in the background. You don’t need to like them because you probably won’t see them on your wedding day. 

And be sure to get your caterer booked quite early. Let them know numbers and venue details but menu specifics can come later. 

Generally, I’m a true believer in trusting your gut. If you are unsure about a supplier in any capacity, just don’t book them. 



Entertainment is more than just music and sound, it’s also what are the guests experiencing right from the moment they arrive? Will there be someone to open car doors? Will someone hold umbrellas? Where will the coat check be? How will it all flow?

With the music, think about what sound you want for the ceremony. For the drinks reception? For dinner and then dancing? Go and get some options for the ceremony music, DJs, party bands and so on, then, when you are ready to book, you can work from your mini schedule for the musicians and the timings you’ll need them for. 

Don’t get into the detail with everything at the booking stage because it’s going to drive you mad and nothing will ever get booked. Remember the foundations. You will be indecisive about your first dance, so you can lock in the specific songs down the track. But if you want a song that’s not on their repertoire list, you need to let them know at least a few months in advance so they can learn it. 



Once all the practicalities are locked in, you can get started on the pretty. 

I appreciate that nowadays the creative process for a wedding is a minefield. There’s Pinterest, there’s Instagram, there’s so much to look at [for inspiration]. And knowing where to start can be daunting. But, first and foremost, I believe that everyone is inherently creative. Everyone can look at something and know if they like it or not. Weddings are about taste. And if something is to your taste, it’s tasteful. 

I suggest that the first thing you do is to absorb your venue. Take lots of photos; close-ups of the carpets, curtains, wallpaper and so on. Really take it all in and think about what colours will look at home in it because you don’t want it to look like you’ve tried too hard. You want it to look effortless. 

The way I work is to create very quick inspiration boards in PowerPoint or Google Slides for the ceremony and the dinner because they’re more flower-led and a bit more goes into designing those. I just collate loads of JPEG images and throw them onto the boards. I might do a pink and yellow one, an all-white one, some blues, palms…

Chelsea has a lovely intimacy to it; it has a romance to it, from Sloane Square to the King’s Road and Sloane Street, it has a unique charm


I’m a true believer in daydreaming. The little phrases that you share, memories and in-jokes can be turned into little details at the wedding, like boxes of matches or cocktail names. Those are the details that make your wedding unique.  



I think about what the look is going to be in each space. I don’t like a wedding to look the same throughout the day. Setting different scenes means that your wedding will never be dull. Your guests will wonder what’s coming next. Make boards for each of the spaces so that when it comes to meeting your florist, you have a bit of a guide for them. 



When you are meeting with your florist, have a little bit of a guide for them; you can use your inspiration boards. But also listen to them because they’re the experts and they know what will work in certain spaces. Don’t be afraid to push if you want to do something different because you’ll be amazed at how excited your suppliers will get when they can do something out of the ordinary. You can imagine that doing the same old thing all the time is terribly dull. 

We work a lot with Lavender Green Flowers because they’re so adaptable; they always get excited about new ideas. I know nothing will phase them and they can always pull off the logistics.  



It’s a really good idea to go and try on lots of different styles of dresses. The Wedding Club near Sloane Street is great because it has a variety of different designers that you can try. Most brides never end up with the dress they had in mind, so go for it. Have a ball. Try on that big Cinderella gown. 

Strangely, what the groom wears is more crucial because it dictates the dress code for the entire wedding. If he’s going to wear black tie, that means all the guests need to wear black tie, with the ladies in evening dress. If wearing a more formal suit, then the ladies should be in cocktail dress.

With morning suits, not everyone needs to wear them. It’s now more the trend to write ‘morning suits optional’ on the invitation. Hardly anyone does white tie and tails anymore but I love that look; it’s so dreamy. On Sloane Street, Tom Ford and Hackett are great choices for men’s suits and you can hire or buy morning wear from Oliver Brown. 

Your wedding bands will need to be bought, too.


Start drafting the wording for your invitation and the information cards that will go with them. Don’t underestimate how long this process can take. It could be up to 12 working days, depending on how intricate your invitation materials are. When you go to the printer for a quote, try to go with a draft of all your invitation materials. 



Put the speeches all together. Do not do them in between every course. If you want to break them up a little, the most popular way is to have one before the starter, perhaps the father of the bride, then the others between the main course, before the pudding, because then you can introduce the cutting of the cake at the end of the last speech. Then pudding is served and you go into the first dance.

Personally, my favourite time to do speeches is during the drinks reception. You get them out of the way. Guests like it because the food’s not being interrupted and the chef loves you because dinner service is not being interrupted. 



Food tasting is one of the last things that we do (about 6-8 weeks before the wedding) because the food that you’re going to have will be in season. And it’s one of the most fun steps in the process – you’ll be eating and drinking. It’s a great moment. 



The post-wedding blues are a real thing. My biggest recommendation is to go on a mini-moon right after your wedding. Book a staycation on Sloane Street or go to Paris, Venice, a beach in Croatia or somewhere in Europe for a week and go on a big, fabulous honeymoon a few months later so you have something nice to look forward to.

The Sloane Street Wedding Guide

From proposing to hair, makeup and skincare, here is everything you need for the wedding season.