7 March 2019
Laura, tell us a little bit about yourself how did you get into wedding planning?
I am a wife, a mother to two amazing little boy cubs and have always been a lover of the romantics. I am happiest in the wonder that is exploring nature, i enjoy eating and drinking my way through each country i visit and not-so-secretly am not the bravest when it comes to creepy crawlies…. !
Getting into the wedding industry felt like a natural progression for me. I had been previously involved in the visual design and event management side of a large business and i felt fulfilled….but not necessarily happy.
Having been married myself, i knew there was an opportunity for a company to emerge that offered full planning and cohesive styling services. That worked one on one with the couple to allow them to not only get the best result possible with the options at their hand but also just to enjoy the process of getting married!!!
How long have you been a wedding planner for?
I have been a wedding planner for 4 years now.
What is the responsibility of a wedding planner?
The responsibility of a wedding planner is to be the backbone of the couples wedding day….as clichè as that sounds! A planner has the responsibility to not only make sure that the couple gets the day they want and deserve, but also the suppliers involved are handled with appreciation and respect so to be able to obtain the best result possible for everyone involved!
It takes over 200 hours to plan a wedding (yep – not even joking!)
I’ve heard a lot of brides say that a wedding planner is far out of their budget! However, today wedding planners can be quite reasonable and are not typical image one would see in their head of Franck from ‘Father and the bride!’. .
How does a wedding planner save a bride money? What is the value of having one?
It takes over 200 hours to plan a wedding (yep – not even joking!) and so for the majority of our clients – who have a lot going on already with work, life, house, travel, family, friends…not to mention their partner themselves, they find that one of the biggest benefits of hiring a planner is to remove the stress that comes with organising the best day of their lives!
Planners do the hardest and definitely the most time consuming part of the wedding journey – the back end. The emails, sourcing, quotes, logistics, invoices, timelines, run sheets and budgets can literally drive people to tears…and this is where most couples fall down in the process.
We know what suppliers generally cost, who will provide a premium product and service, what you really need to include in your special day and what can be left behind (as each couple has different requirements). We suggest ways to save money, to save time and to save energy so that the end result is as smooth a process as possible.
Couples generally only aim to do this once, right?! and so to do it happily and without any stress or angst, is the main aim for us!!!
Styling by Wanderlust Creative
Do you handle the budget?
We do handle their budget. When we first begin with all our clients, we will sit down with them, discuss their ‘ideal world spend’ and then we go through, category by category and discuss the ‘reality of each spend’. Big decisions are made here, and we send our couples away with an informed prediction for all their relevant suppliers…and a bottle of wine to help them hash out the particulars!!!
What other things do you not handle? Eg guest list?
We basically handle every single one of their wedding planning details – excluding personal items such as dresses, suits, rings and bridal party requirements. We believe these aspects must be controlled by the couple – it is an incredibly personal journey and one that is a joy to go along for the ride with them on, yet something as intimate as the bridesmaids shoes…??!! Nothing like a “brideslave” shopping day!
We try as best we can to help deflect questions and support our clients wants and desires up until a point when it comes to friends and family members’ opinions/questions – but if Aunty Betty’s issue with the cooling really is as big as she is making it out to be – unfortunately it will fall onto the couple and their family to resolve it!
I’ve heard a lot of myths regarding that the figures of “the average cost of a wedding” is false, is this true?
It depends on what you consider an overall “average wedding” costs!!! Ha ha!
There are more factors involved in the final breakdown of a wedding budget and each individual wedding suppliers cost than most people realise. It can depend on the bride and groom themselves, their heritage or religion if it applies, their chosen location for the event, the style of wedding they want to have, the qty of guests attending…..the list goes on.
I do have to say though, there is NO real wedding “tax” that i have ever come across in this industry. Some people think that suppliers put on a percentage as soon as you drop the “w” word – i hear that come up every now and then, and i can safely say that with those that i work with and alongside – there has not been a tax of this sort for as long as i can remember. Employing a wedding planner will help couples sift through what is worth it to them as a couple, and what is not so that they don’t invest their money in potentially the wrong areas for them.
Do you attend dress fittings, cake tasting etc with the bride and groom?
As i mentioned earlier, we do not control or make decisions regarding the personal items of a bride or groom, however all other details (yes – DEFINITELY including cake tasting!!!) we will handle with the couple if that is what they choose, or alone if needed. Working within the industry for as long as we have allows us to know the intimate knowledge of superior wedding vendors, and so when it comes to sampling the goods – we know exactly who to recommend right from the start.
How hands on are you when working with a bride and groom? Is it mainly communication via email or?
We are very hands on (i love a wine and charcuterie board catch up…all my couples will attest to that!!). I really believe that, even though we know the most in-depth details on how to pull a production together such as a wedding – and to be honest, could probably do it in a heartbeat quicker if we were left alone to our own devices, it is important for the couple to share in this process. A major reason to employ a wedding planner is to take away the stress the responsibility of planning a wedding can cause not only the bride and groom – but also family members and friends.
And so, as we can offer them solutions to all of their requirements, it can be a fun and super enjoyable process for all – which is how it should be.
We meet face to face, yet also have lots of late night phone calls, crazy group text messages and an unhealthy amount of social media tagging.
When should a bride and groom contact a wedding planner for their services?
We suggest a minimum of 12 months out from the desired month/s you are wanting to get married in so that we can secure the best venue, date and vendors as early as possible for the client.
We have, however, planned an incredibly gorgeous wedding, full of heritage nods, traditional elements and religious ceremonies for 286 guests with the couple being from overseas in less than 6 months…..it can be done…however i would suggest giving yourselves a little more time!!!
It can depend on many factors including the location of the couple to their venue, the size of their guest list and at times, their budget too!
“A first impression is imperative for me to gauge them as a couple…and this is not an aesthetic impression…this is more of a soul impression”.
What does the initial meeting with a wedding planner look like?
Have I mentioned we love to wine and dine our couples on the first date??!! If they have a venue that they have had their eye on – then i will always suggest we go there first. Mostly to be able to get an idea of who the couple are, what they enjoy and why they are looking at that particular space to get married in!!!
A first impression is imperative for me to gauge them as a couple…and this is not an aesthetic impression…this is more of a soul impression. I love to find out all about my couples – who they are together, who they were before each other and who they want to be together after the big day has been and gone!
We discuss THEM and how they would like their wedding day to feel for themselves and their guests and we talk budget…
It’s not the most fun aspect, but it is almost the most important to get a solid idea at the very beginning.
How many meetings are there with a wedding planner and when do you have them with the bride and groom?
We have five meetings face to face (or over Skype if the clients are instferstae or overseas) during the (on average) 12 month process.
The first meeting is generally a meet and great where we catch up face to face with the couple, and discuss their history together, their personalities and interests and their wants and desires for their wedding day and beyond! This meeting is where we discuss about one of the most important aspects for the planner to be able to successfully to their job, which is the intended budget.
Each subsequent meeting there after is around every quarter/3rd month mark (if you have booked your planner at least 12 months earlier) in which each meeting has an action plan:
Meeting two we generally discuss the signage and stationery element of the wedding day as we will then begin to develop the first concept for the save the dates or invitation and all major supplier bookings.
Meeting three is dedicated to the “fun” side of the process which is the style direction/theme briefing and floral requirements.
Meeting four is where we tie up all the supplier’s final loose ends, collate on the day details such as guest names and menu details, seating plan and on the day logistics. We also develop a time line for supplier delivery and a run sheet for the couple’s on the day progression with all vendors involved.
Meeting five is our final catch up before the bog day!! It generally takes place 2-3 weeks prior to the wedding date and we go over all the details that have been created for their wedding day, and run through the workings of the day, field any last minute questions and really get our clients excited for what is to come.
What’s your top tips for a bride when planning?
TRUST YOUR TRIBE!! You have employed the professionals for that very reason – they are the ultimate within their supplier based and they know their stuff inside and out. So trusting your vendors and allowing them to do what you have employed them to do will always yield the best results. This is especially the case for all the creative suppliers – stylists, florists, signage suppliers etc. Allow them to draw on their inner creativity as they work organically on your wedding day, and magic will happen.
What mistakes do brides make when planning a wedding?
Basically the opposite to what i have mentioned above! Brides and grooms that do not trust the opinion or informed suggestions of their suppliers when there is something that needs troubleshooting or changing can find themselves in for a bit of a bumpy ride!!!
A common mistake for couples to also make is leaving the booking of a planner too late. The earlier you get on board with your chosen few, the more beneficial their knowledge and opinion can be. Trying to get a planner to come into the process half way through will not get the best out of their ability, and potentially you will miss out on some amazing suppliers that you didn’t know about in the beginning!!!!
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