Plan to suc­ceed:

The big ques­tion has been popped and you have cel­e­brated your en­gage­ment with loved ones – now it’s time to start plan­ning the big day

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - WORDS: Rachel Buller

The world of the wed­ding plan­ner – and why you need one

Some cou­ples might have a long held vi­sion of their dream wed­ding and know ex­actly what they want while oth­ers may be start­ing with a com­pletely blank can­vas. Em­ploy­ing a plan­ner can help you cre­ate your per­fect wed­ding and en­sure every­thing runs smoothly on the day, as our two ex­perts re­veal.

Emma Fran­cis runs Norfolk wed­ding plan­ning busi­ness Me and Mr Jones and says em­ploy­ing a pro­fes­sional can help save time and ease stress.

“The av­er­age wed­ding takes 200 hours plus to plan. Not many peo­ple have this time or wish to spend this amount of time on an event you are meant to be look­ing for­ward to.

“Wed­dings can also be stress­ful. Of­ten a bride and groom find it can cre­ate ten­sion be­tween them and their fam­i­lies but a wed­ding co­or­di­na­tor knows how to deal with these sit­u­a­tions and can act as the mid­dle per­son to help avoid con­flicts.

“For most cou­ples it’s their first time get­ting mar­ried so they wouldn’t know how long the pho­tog­ra­pher needs, if the vicar ap­proves of videog­ra­phy, what the day’s agenda is and how it flows. You are thrown in at the deep end. This is where a wed­ding plan­ner can help. They know how the day runs, what works well and what needs to be avoided, what the av­er­age cost of sup­pli­ers is and can look over con­tracts to en­sure it’s all cor­rect.

“They can also give cou­ples the peace of mind that should any query ar­rive on the day they are to be di­rected to the wed­ding plan­ner. This in­cludes any needs of friends and fam­ily mem­bers. The bride doesn’t want to spend her day look­ing for baby wipes or call­ing a taxi for their grandma.

“A wed­ding plan­ner can also guide you on a theme while sav­ing you money. Pin­ter­est can some­times be too hard to ig­nore but with a wed­ding plan­ner on board, they can help to keep cou­ples ac­count­able for their spend­ing. They can also give out­side-the-box so­lu­tions which might add that ex­tra Pin­ter­est-in­spired cre­ation by cut­ting back on some­thing else.

“About a month be­fore the event, some cou­ples want to let go so that they can breathe and en­joy the weeks ahead. Wed­ding plan­ners can co­or­di­nate, con­firm and fi­nalise all of the last minute de­tails and en­sure the day comes to­gether per­fectly.” me­andm­r­

Sarah Soft­ley is di­rec­tor of Soft­ley Events. She be­lieves that while for some hir­ing a wed­ding plan­ner can seem a lux­ury, for oth­ers it is an ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity.

“Many cou­ples work long hours or live in an­other county or even coun­try from where their wed­ding will take place, so hav­ing some­one on the ground to look af­ter ev­ery de­tail is in­valu­able.

“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 and 15% of the to­tal bud­get but some plan­ners charge a fixed fee. On the day man­age­ment can range from £500 to £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. Al­ways ask for a cou­ple of ref­er­ences. Alarm bells should ring if these can’t be pro­vided.

“Al­ways ar­range to meet with a po­ten­tial wed­ding plan­ner be­fore em­ploy­ing them, even if this has to be over Skype, as this will give you a good feel­ing as to whether you will have a good rap­port with them. You can then dis­cuss which ser­vice you re­quire and en­sure the pro­posal is for the cor­rect level of in­volve­ment.

“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. We were re­cently asked to ar­range a tra­di­tional carousel for a wed­ding which was won­der­ful. Other items have been a dec­o­rated wheel­bar­row for the bride’s de­par­ture, an aer­o­bat­ics dis­play and a medieval ban­quet com­plete with ap­pro­pri­ately dressed staff.

“As a plan­ner we would nor­mally want to work with sup­pli­ers we trust, who we know will de­liver to a high stan­dard as we want your day to be per­fect. 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 to work with a sup­plier, that should re­main the case.

“Fi­nally, most plan­ning starts at least one year in ad­vance but we have planned a wed­ding in six weeks – any­thing is pos­si­ble.”

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Emma Fran­cis, me­andm­r­

TOP RIGHT:Every­thing comes to­gether on the big day at a wed­ding planned by Me and Mr Jones

Pho­tog­ra­phy: soft­e­

RIGHT:A wed­ding or­gan­ised by Soft­ley Events

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