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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
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.” meandmrjones.co
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.”
TOP RIGHT:Everything comes together on the big day at a wedding planned by Me and Mr Jones
RIGHT:A wedding organised by Softley Events