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Wedding planners - call in the professionals

So you got engaged and set a date for your wedding, congratulations! Now the hard work starts! As much as you may want to be in charge of everything to do with your wedding, finding the time and the right people for the job isn’t the easiest of tasks. How about having someone help you out? Not a friend or family member but someone who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes weddings… a wedding planner! I spoke with Vanessa from RandFWeddings to get an insight into how they can make your wedding experience amazing!

Please introduce yourself...

Hi I’m Vanessa, and I own RandFWeddings – Wedding Planners. I have been a wedding planner since 2004 and last year won the 4CWA award for wedding planning and production.  We cater for all types of weddings from grand country houses to weekend long festival weddings. In recent years we have developed a bit of a reputation for specialising in creating outdoor ceremonies and receptions that are on a fairly epic scale!  I think we’ve developed this reputation as outdoor weddings require specialist knowledge that we have developed over the years.  As well as winning our award, we have also featured on several blogs. Not forgetting our BBC radio interviews, most recently on the Meghan and Harry royal wedding.  As well as making your wedding planning journey fun and memorable,  we also pride ourselves on our attention to detail. Our professionalism and reputation is why we are proud members of the National Association of Wedding Professionals.

How does your service help your clients?

Our wedding planner service can help clients in several ways. Our typical clients may simply be time poor with busy careers and therefore have little or no time to commit to planning their wedding.  We also see a large number of couples that having started their wedding planning journey quickly realise it can be a lot more complicated than simply sending a few enquiries out to suppliers. This is especially true of outdoor weddings where often its the details that get overlooked or become complicated. This is where we often step in.  We believe it is important not just to offer a couple a standard package but to take the time to meet a couple, listen to their needs and present them a bespoke support package tailored exactly to their requirements.  It is important to us that our couples feel like they are still in control. Pulling off a wedding is a combination of organisational skills, a meticulous eye for detail, style and design and most importantly collaboration with our couple to ensure we provide the day they dreamed of.

What is the process?

This is a good question. After making initial contact with us, I will arrange to meet the couple at their convenience for a no obligation, free consultation to discuss their ideal day and give advice is best suited to their needs. It also allows both parties the chance to get to know each other. The relationship you will have with your wedding planner may be a very close one and it is important that everyone feels comfortable and the couple feel confident in our ability to deliver their day. During our consultation I will advise the couple on their options and which level of service I believe best suits their needs. I will generally provide a quote for the service there and then. Most couples confirm their booking straight away however we are completely comfortable and understand that some couples may also want to have a think before making a commitment. Once a couple confirm they wish to use our service, we issue a contract and deposit invoice along with agreeing our next meeting and a planning schedule.

Do you tailor your services and are you with your clients until the end?

We offer a range of bespoke services for our clients. These will typically range from straight forward, ‘on the day’ management, partial planning or complete planning.  Whilst some couples are happy to provide us a brief and a budget and let us do our thing, more often than not the couple want to maintain the key fun areas such as choosing the cake, or picking a photographer. The knowledge that they have the professional advice at hand and somone that will simply take over at the agreed time is paramount.

Absolutely, we are there till the end. Dominos don’t just deliver to the end of your road and a taxi driver doesn’t drop you on the edge of town, neither will we. We are generally the first on site at the venue/reception location and will always be the last to leave. Only once our couple and all guests are safely away do we then ensure that all your remaining suppliers have also fully packed down and left site.

Can you recommend suppliers to your clients and when should we book you?

We work with reputable suppliers, varied enough to fulfil most requirements. Locating, booking and managing the right suppliers for a couples day is an integral part of any planning process we undertake.  Before the day we will have met and been in regular contact with all suppliers and a comprehensive briefing/itinerary document is created and provided to all parties. This ensures a seamless run of events throughout the day.

For full planning, as we start right at the beginning with calculating budget, venue location and sometimes even the date itself, we advise 12 to 18 months. Although we have planned a wedding from scratch in as little as 6 weeks but this all depends on the size and style of your wedding and of course the venue you want!  We look to try and help as many couples as we can and while we recommend booking as far in advance as possible, we will always try and accommodate last minute requests too.

Finally, is there any advice you can offer couples?

Never underestimate the work involved in planning a wedding let alone an outdoor wedding and remember the clear up operation thats required afterwards too as this sadly gets overlooked!  The devil is in the detail, never make assumptions… we came to the rescue of a couple who had assumed their caterer was providing crockery however this was not the case.

We’ve had everything from couples ordering bags of ice with no way to keep it frozen to a tipi wedding where they had completely overlooked the need to have power!

So there you go...

All the information you should need, right here, to help you make your mind up on whether you should book yourself a wedding planner – I think it’s pretty safe to say they sound pretty damn awesome! Photo credits: Claudia Rose Carter Photography, S6 Photography and Sansom Photography.

And don’t forget… if you are still looking for a photographer for your wedding, get in touch to see if I am available, I’d love to hear from you.