Many couples work long hours or live in another county or even country from where their wedding will take place and so having someone on the ground to look after every detail and to ensure that every element of their dream day is exactly that it can be invaluable.
With the average wedding costing in excess of £32,000 it makes absolute sense to use a professional consultant to ensure that every supplier is going to deliver.
A professional wedding planner can often help to save you money on certain elements using their experience and buying power.
And don’t forget they can also help you with guest accommodation and transport, welcome packs and pre and post wedding activities.
Planning your wedding should be an exciting time not a daunting or stressful one and if you employ a professional planner that is exactly what it can be.
Are you available?
Do ask this first, you would be amazed how many brides forget to ask this in their excitement.
What is included in the cost of your service?
Wedding Planners often offer a range of services from full coordination to on the day management. The industry standard for full coordination is between 10 & 15% of the total budget but some planners will charge a fixed fee. On the day management can range from £500 - £1000. Make sure you ask for a written proposal that includes any additional costs such as accommodation and travel and ask if they have the correct insurances in place. A professional planner will always have public liability and professional indemnity insurance.
What is included in each of your services?
You should always arrange to meet with a potential wedding planner before employing them. Sometimes this has to be over Skype if the couple are overseas but even this will give you a good feel as to whether you will have a good rapport with your planner.
You can then discuss which service you require and ensure that the proposal you are sent is for the correct level of involvement.
My vision or yours?
It is crucial that have complete trust in your planner and feel assured that they understand you and your vision. A good planner will never say you should or you must! It is your day and they are there to guide you through the excitement and ensure that they source the right suppliers for you. Do be very clear about what you like and don’t like. Your planner should quickly be able to understand your vision and only enhance it not deviate from it.
Do you have preferred suppliers?
The answer to this will normally be yes. As a planner we would normally want to work with the suppliers that we trust and who we know will deliver to a high standard as we want your day to be perfect. One of the reasons our couples book us is because it takes the stress of the unknown away. A website can tell one story but the reality can be very different!
Ultimately however it is the couple’s choice and unless a planner has a good reason not work with a supplier that should remain the case. Most couples are booking a planner to ensure they use the best suppliers so would be guided by them.
Can I see some references?
Always ask for a couple of references and to see some pictures of previous weddings that have been arranged. A professional planner will always be happy to provide these – many of our clients offer to do this as they know how invaluable this is. Alarm bells should ring if these can’t be provided.
How long will it take for you to arrange my wedding?
This will very much depend on the elements required for the day. Most planning starts at least 1 year in advance but we have planned a wedding in 6 weeks – anything is possible.
What sort of expertise do you bring to the role?
As a professional wedding planner and event organiser we have many years of experience organising weddings and events in a range of venues and on differing scales. This allows us to talk to you about your plans and visions for your wedding celebrations with an excellent knowledge and understanding of how things work and indeed advise on what doesn’t. Our experience of the market allows us to put forward the suppliers that are right for you and your day. We will also have the time and resource to look for new and exciting suppliers and to carry out research to ensure that they will deliver what is required.
We will be able to work with you to understand what is important to you and can then prepare a detailed budget which will allow you to prioritise your spending. Band or DJ? 2 or 3 courses? It has to be right for you!
We have the contacts to make things happen, for instance a dress designer to help in an emergency to design and make a wedding dress in just 6 weeks – yes it can be done if you know the right people.
And it’s not just the beautiful elements that we look after, we will ensure that all the unglamorous side of things are considered as well, things which are often overlooked.
We will ensure that all contracts are in order and that any required documentation is in place. All of this takes time and for many couples this is one of the key reasons for employing us.
How long before a wedding should you get a wedding planner on board?
We would always recommend booking your wedding planner as soon as possible. The more time they have the more options they will be able to offer you for each element of your day. This is especially key if planning a wedding in the peak seasons.
What are some of the more unusual arrangements/requests you have been involved in?
We were recently asked to arrange a traditional carousel for a wedding which was wonderful. Other items have been a decorated wheelbarrow for the brides departure, an aerobatics display and a medieval banquet complete with appropriately dressed staff.
Can the bride and groom choose how involved the wedding planner will be?
Absolutely. Some couples want to arrange the day itself but book a planner to look after things on the day. Others have full coordination, and some will ask a planner to arrange certain elements only and provide on the day management. We offer a bespoke, tailored service for each of our couples as each one is different.
How involved are you on the big day itself?
This is something that you should confirm when you meet your planner as this can vary considerably.
We will always be on site from between 2 and 3 hours before your guests arrive, sometimes earlier and unless we asked otherwise will always be there to see the safe departure of the bride and groom and often then an hour afterwards to oversee the breakdown of the band etc. A lot of planners leave after the first dance!
We will be on site to ensure that every element is exactly as you have planned and to make sure that each supplier is where they should be at the appropriate time and that you and your guests are in the right places at the right time from church to first dance and all places in between.
What would your one bit of advice be to a bride and groom on their wedding day?
Remember it is your day and not anyone else’s. Don’t feel pressured to have anything you don’t want to have or do, there are not rights or wrongs and we always say that there are no problems only solutions and you should enjoy every minute.
I will never forget a bride saying to me that ‘I’m not worried about the wedding day as I’m so excited about starting my marriage.’ Something that is easy to forget in amongst the many elements of the day.