The countdown to your big day has begun but how on earth are you going to get there? For some couples, there is only one way to manage organising the best day of their lives – hire a professional!
You’ve set your date; and you have even decided on where you want to do it, but you probably haven’t booked it or even looked at a save the date design yet. Let’s face it, choosing the ring took the best part of a year.
But don’t despair, it doesn’t mean you are not excited or desperate to get your big day organised, far from it. It just means that you might not be the best person for the job. So where do you turn? A wedding planner, of course. They are the people dedicated to making your day special, to finding everything you ever dreamed of well within your budget, and for knowing which company is the best at what they do. I mean, who wants to spend hours sifting through an endless list of wedding services collecting quotes and reading reviews when you are not even sure what you want in the first place.
The job of the wedding planner
So enter the wedding planner, the bestest friend you have ever had (well, at least for the next 9-12 months), who will not only organise your day meticulously but actually turn your wild ideas and childhood dreams into a reality. They will listen to what you want (and I promise you they will have heard wilder than yours before so don’t hold back) and magically bring it to life. They will present you with the possibilities, plan, check and triple check everything on the lead up to your big day so that you and your partner can relax and imagine your future life together, or at least the beaches you will spend three wonderful weeks on for your honeymoon.
The idea of a wedding planner has evolved over the years, we can’t help but imagine elaborate themes and mountains of expense all topped off with a camp as Christmas co-ordinator at the helm, complete with head set and clip board. But that’s probably because we’ve watched Father of the Bride too many times. In fact, wedding planning isn’t quite as glamourous as we’ve always thought.
“You’re joking, right? The words ‘event/wedding management’ and glamorous do not go together!” Emma Christopher, who runs Emma Jane Weddings based in Stone, says. “I’ve worked in the hospitality industry since I was 16 and operationally managed large scale events from the age of 19. The industry is massively rewarding but incredibly hard work. The successful delivery of an event is the end result of weeks and months of planning; everything you’ve planned and worked towards hinges on that one shot you have to execute it all perfectly. I love what I do and at 2am on a cold, dark winter night when you’re waiting for the last of the suppliers to pack up, it’s that love and passion for the industry that motivates you through the day.
How to choose a wedding planner
Once you have processed all your ideas and inspiration, decided what you can and can’t do on your own and sat down with your partner to set a budget, it’s now that you might consider appointing a professional.
“In recent years, wedding planning has taken a new turn with more companies setting up as ‘stylists’ and focusing more on the look of the day,” says Emma. “My business is more of the old school planner style, preferring to concentrate more on the logistical elements that bring the day together.”
Finding a wedding planner that is suitable for you can take time but there are few things to look out for. Recommendations from friends or family are invaluable but when searching online, you want to have a chat over-the-phone or in-person with them to make sure you are both on the same page. In any case, you need to ask the following questions as a minimum:
- Are you available on my wedding date? You will need to make sure they can be there on the day to keep everything ticking over.
- Can you handle what I want? Make sure they have the skills or experience to handle all the aspects you want them too. Perhaps you are more concerned with the style and look of your day or you need more help with the operational side of it. Be clear what it is you need.
- How many weddings are you planning at the same time? This is one for you to decide what you are happy with and your chosen wedding planner will know what they are capable of. “Naturally, weddings tend to happen during the summer months so I can find myself working on more than one wedding at a time. I only take a select number of clients on a year to ensure I can provide the best service possible to all clients. It’s very much quality over quantity, Emma adds.”
- How much does one of your weddings cost? The average cost of a wedding in the UK is around £25,000 but you should be clear with your wedding planner on what you can and can’t afford to stop things spiralling out of control. “I’m always very realistic when discussing initial ideas with my clients,” says Emma, “they have to be honest with me on their budget so I know which suppliers would be best to recommend based on their style. My one piece of advice is to set a budget and stick to it. Be honest with each other and only spend what you can afford.”
- Have you dealt with our venue before? If you have already decided on your venue then working with someone who has been on site and is familiar with the staff might be an advantage.
- How would clients describe you? Hearing feedback from previous weddings will help you to feel comfortable with your chosen wedding planner. Ask to read testimonials so you can get an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
“I would say the most important thing you need to consider when choosing a wedding planner is chemistry and whether or not they can do the things you are looking for. Choose someone who is based in your area and has working knowledge of suppliers as they will know how things work and where to avoid any would-be disasters!” Emma adds.
Speak to Emma at Emma Jane Weddings or call 07809 329723.