I recently had the honour of being featured as a guest blogger for my favourite photography duo, James & Kerrie Sapphire. London based, James and Kerrie are a husband and wife team specialising in documentary wedding photography. Head over to their website to find out more.
Are you considering hiring a wedding planner for your wedding day? It’s becoming increasingly popular here in the UK to hire someone to do all the ground work for you. How can a wedding planner help you plan the day of your dreams? We met with Senel, the owner of Bride & Belle Luxury Weddings to find out more.
Most of my clients come to me for help once they’ve realised that organising their wedding or event involves a bit more than first anticipated. My level of involvement depends on the clients’ needs and that can range from a Full Planning service to On the Day Wedding Coordination – every wedding is unique and so requires a tailored solution. Through an in depth discussion, I gauge the level of help required and together, my client and myself create a plan which is appropriate and which they are comfortable and happy with.
How did the idea for Bride & Belle Luxury Weddings come about and what inspired you to start your own company?
I’ve spent the last 10 years working as a corporate events manager. I have planned, organised and executed an endless of list of events across a variety of locations.
For me it seemed a natural career progression; to move from major corporate events to the more personal area of wedding planning felt like the right next step for me.
Tell us why clients need help in planning their wedding or event.
Planning an event, wedding or otherwise, is a monumental effort that requires a methodical approach, excellent attention to detail, strong negotiation skills, an ability to think on your feet and above all a love and passion for what you do.
Weddings are no longer simple affairs; often weddings take place over several days with guests required to travel to far flung corners of the UK. In addition, the choices of services that are available from the wedding industry for couples is phenomenal. Caterers, florists, wedding stylists… there is so much choice out there it’s tough to know where to start. It’s not just about making a choice either, there’s then the added pressure of reading contracts, understanding the small print, making payments, and ensuring that the suppliers you have booked deliver what they have promised on the day. So not only are couples planning one of THE biggest days of their lives, they are also expected to become fully fledged event managers.
What elements must be considered before clients start planning an event?
It’s easy to get carried away with all the fun elements (champagne tasting anyone?) of planning your wedding but start at the beginning with the big B – Budget! Deciding what type of wedding you would like and how many people you can chose to have there to share your special day really comes down to how much you are willing to spend. Once you’ve decided on your budget, then consider how many people you want to invite and then start to look at venues. After your venue, the next essential element is your Wedding Photographer! Wedding Photographers are always one of the first things that couples book and therefore tend to be booked far in advance – so don’t miss out.
How do you remain up-to-date with the weddings and events industry?
I do a lot of networking within the wedding industry and keep in regular contact with other wedding pros. Blogs are also an invaluable way to keep up to date with what’s happening in the industry. My favourite is Bloved by Louise Beukes if you haven’t checked it out yet then do! I also make a conscious effort to visit new wedding venues every month. This is a great way to see a venue, suss out their wedding facilities and importantly a chance to meet with the staff at the venue. One of my favourite places for couples to get married is Lainston House in Hampshire. It’s a 5 star wedding venue with a stunning barn for your wedding to take place in. There are beautiful grounds for your guests to enjoy and the service is top notch. They also have the brilliant Season Cookery school with some of the UK’s best chefs – a brilliant treat for your guests to enjoy the day before your wedding.
Do you attend the wedding?
Yes absolutely! It’s all part of the service and if nothing else I would recommend that you always have a wedding planner there on the day to oversee your wedding. I offer a service that is specifically for couples who need On the Day Wedding Coordination only. We will meet up a few weeks before your wedding and I will confirm all of the final arrangements with all of your various suppliers on your behalf. I will be there before the wedding to oversee the set up and remain there until after the first dance to ensure that everything you have planned goes off in spectacular style!
This is just a small area of what I cover. Most of my clients will hire me for either Full or Partial Wedding planning. This means working with couples as far as two years in advance and covers all the key areas such as the venue, logistics, budget management, supplier sourcing and of course being there on the day itself. My motto is to be as flexible as possible and the best way to work out what couples need is to meet up, have a good chat and let me know how I can help.
How far in advance do you require to plan a wedding or event?
I’ve been known to turn an event around in less than a week… however as much notice as possible is always preferable! For my full planning clients, we often start working together as much as two years in advance. For Partial Planning it is usually six to three months. Clients who opt for this service already have their venue booked and the key elements already confirmed, such as their photographer and caterer. The Partial Planning service is perfect for those who would welcome some professional support to ensure that everything comes together in those final few months.
What’s next for Bride & Belle Luxury Weddings?
I have lots of exciting things planned for the future! My new website is about to launch and I am also about to launch my new blog. The blog will focus on planning tips and inspiration, interviews with other wedding suppliers and lots of other fabulous insights. I am also going to dedicate a special section of the blog to venues. In my opinion, it’s one of the more overlooked parts in wedding blogs but I think one of the most important elements that couples should consider. It is where your wedding will be taking place after all!
Finally, we have to ask, what brings out the most excitement for you in event planning?
Seeing the look on the bride and groom’s faces at the end of the day. Being a wedding planner is not a glamorous job and sometimes I dream nostalgically about my old 9 -5, but seeing the happy couples coming down the aisle really does make it all worth it, and I would not change it for the world.