Today is the turn of our very own Wedding Doll, Joanne Scott, to tell us more about being a wedding planner. Blog readers won’t need much introduction so we’ll go straight in and find out more…..
How did you become a wedding planner?
I worked in PR and events but took a break to spend more time with my young children. During this time I got asked to help with a few weddings on an ad-hoc basis and really enjoyed it. It’s so different from corporate events and I love the personality that you add to each day. I got the wedding bug and studied for a professional diploma in Wedding Planning.
How would you describe what you do?
I work with the Bride and Groom to make sure they have the wedding they want and support them throughout with advice and guidance. I would never dream of taking over someone’s plans and telling them what to do! Our wedding service enables couples to make their own decisions and feel completely in control of their plans and ideas. I get to know the couples really well and help them bring their style and personality into their wedding day. After all – it is all about them!
What personality traits do you need to be a good planner?
Obviously being professional, highly organised and good with juggling many different things is a massive bonus! However I do think you need to be compassionate and understanding. Getting married is very personal and you can’t stroll in and start being a Miss Bossy Boots! You need to be able to build solid relationships with suppliers and earn the trust of everyone you work with. Being a fun and friendly face is essential.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best has to be seeing it all come together on the day, I love going home knowing that our newlyweds are on the dance floor having had the best day – that’s what it’s all about for me.
The worst is being on your feet for pretty much 12 hours straight. I hate wearing flats to a wedding but can’t survive the day without them!
What are the top three things that wedding couples ask you about first?
Normally first off is “Can I afford a wedding planner?” The answer is yes. We’ve got lots of different options to help any stressed out couple whether they can afford £50 right up to £5,000.
Usually then they ask about how to go about starting their planning and working out their budget.
What tips would you give your couples to help their day run more smoothly?
We always get couples to imagine being a guest at their wedding and run through the experience of the day from start to finish. It helps to visualise what will be happening and when.
Also don’t give the Bridal Party too many jobs to do. They’ll be busy themselves trying to get ready, be in the pictures and welcoming guests. Be realistic about what time they’ll have come the big day and never give jobs to people that can’t handle the pressure.
What is your best piece of business advice to aspiring planners?
Experience is key. Get involved in the events industry in as many ways as you can. Nothing beats hands on experience of how events run, learning how to get the most out of people and building good relationships.
What has been your best moment as a wedding planner?
No one moment stands out but I do always love taking five minutes every now and again to watch the Bride & Groom looking so happy and just enjoying everything happening around them. It means all the planning and hard work has paid off. We always tell couples to take a moment and look around their wedding to really take in the atmosphere – I do it all the time !
Thanks Jo and if you missed last week’s Dream Jobs with Photographer with James Grist check it out now!
If you’re planning an outdoor wedding chances are you’ll be needing a marquee or tent and you’re in luck as our very lovely neighbours (well two little roads away) at LPM Bohemia can help you with all of them!
From Vintage and Traditional Canvas Pole Tents, Indian Marquees, to more contemporary Party Marquees, as well as Yurts and the eye-popping Grand Pavilion, they’ve got it covered for you.
Alongside hiring your tent the really friendly team will also help with furniture, dance floors, lighting and decor. There’s simply a huge range to choose from and lots of the tents can be joined together so you can get the perfect look alongside the functionality you need. Plus you could opt for letting your guests stay over for a bit of late night partying in Bell Tents and Yurts.
For some of you though decorating a tent or marquee can feel like a daunting prospect. It’s a huge blank canvas to work with, but with some of the new interior linings available it will make it that little bit easier and you’ll have a stunning and unique place for your wedding day.
Are you planning an outdoor wedding? What type of tent will you be hiring?
Images all from LPM Bohemia
Choosing your Bridesmaids is never going to be easy. Coupled with worries about cost versus numbers, then family dynamics alongside wanting your BFF can leave Brides feeling a bit panicky. We often get asked how to choose Bridesmaids but it’s completely personal and one question our planning experience really can’t answer for you! However let us tell you what we always tell our Brides and the top five things to consider.
The Most Prepared Bridesmaid Ever?
1. Sisters Aren’t Doing It For Themselves
Generally the rule of thumb is that you really do have to ask your Sisters. It has been known for them to flatly refuse to be one when asked and this is their decision, but they are sort of naturally entitled to the role by way of having been in your life, like forever. However if you really don’t want to have them as Bridesmaids think about other roles they can play in your big day. From doing a Reading to perhaps organising the Hen Do – think about what they do best, apart from always stealing your new shoes, then pick jobs accordingly.
2. Friends “The One Where You Pick Your Bridesmaids”
If you have a number of best friends and simply cannot choose, then to hell with it and have all of them. However consider the fact that some of them just won’t be good at particular jobs i.e rubbish organiser, always late, changes plans at the last minute. They are your friends and you know them best, so choose carefully as you don’t want to feel let down by flaky friends in the run up to your big day. Reliable, fun and unselfish – they’re the friends you need.
3. Delegate On The Day Disaster
If you want to delegate some duties to your Bridesmaids on the day then be reasonable about what you expect from them. They won’t be able to do loads of running around as they’ll be needed in pictures and will have time constraints on them. But they can be there to help you and make sure you have everything you need. The best Bridesmaids are there for moral support but not to carry out a massive to-do list.
4. Monster Mates
If your inner Bridezilla has a chance of appearing your Bridesmaids should be able to shut it back in or at the very least control the raging monster. Pick Bridesmaids who know you REALLY well so they know exactly how to respond to you. This is where Sisters and best friends come into their own. They will know what to say and do, or at the very least they can threaten to show everyone the drunken booby picture from your girls holiday in Ibiza.
5. Laughter is the Best Friend Medicine
A lot of problems can be solved with a big giggle. It’s your wedding day and you want to have fun so make sure you have Bridesmaids that know how to have a good time. Enjoying your big day will be so much easier if you can laugh along. At this point in time I would like to say that you don’t need a Court Jester, but just someone who is going to make things a little lighter and relax the tension.
Have you chosen your Bridesmaids? How did you decide?
Image courtesy of Howling Basset Photography
Chances are organising a wedding is your first dip into the party planning pool so no doubt it will seem a bit daunting. But fear not, here’s 8 easy ways to become “Little Miss Organised” and get your planning as near to damn perfect as it can be.
1. You’ve Got Mail
Setting up a new email account is a great way to separate your wedding planning from the rest of your life. You can easily save quotes, keep track of supplier questions, sign up to wedding blogs and other wedding marketing emails as well as manage diary dates for wedding fairs and special offers etc. This way you won’t be reminded of your impending nuptials every time you check your email for the latest deals at Topshop. Plus all wedding related mail can be sorted into handy folders for extra planning bonus points.
2. Box Me Clever
If like me, you’re a leaflet hoarder (I at least have a professional reason for this ….) you will soon find this quadruples during your first few months of wedding planning. If you want to avoid spending at least an hour a week searching for “the card for the singer I saw at Bluewater” get a box and put every leaflet in there as soon as you return home. Don’t get all OCD and try and file everything in alphabetical order, that will just send you nuts.
3. Do the Math
Having a budget in mind will give you a little bit more control over your planning and make it easier to organise. Draw up your budget planner early on and you’ll be searching for the right suppliers at the right price from the very beginning. And don’t be worried about telling suppliers what your budget is. Being all “secret squirrel” can be counter-productive and most suppliers will always try and cut you a good deal, especially if you can be flexible on dates.
4. Easy Style Guide
Finding inspiration and seeing things you like is one thing, putting it in some kind of order is completely another. Get yourself a Pinterest account and start pinning as if the very success of your wedding depended on it. Put the Pins into categories/styles and you’ll soon have little mood boards to organise your thoughts and likes. Once you’ve decided upon a style delete the pins you don’t need until you are left with one wedding board as your ultimate style guide. Your stress levels will thank you for it.
5. Tickety Boo
Organising a wedding is not something you do everyday, so be prepared for it to get stressful on occasion. Have set times to work on your plans each week so you get the balance right and minimise the stress. Give yourself a to-do list of no more than 3 items each week and tick them off as you go. You’ll be at your most productive in short bursts. As a couple try and organise a wedding meeting each month so both of you are clear on the decisions being made and what’s left to be done.
6. Research, Research, Research and then more Research
Once you’re off the starting blocks and have done your research TRY AND STOP. Limit yourself to using the odd lunch-break or the train journey home from work for a chance to do a bit of internet trawling and a quick flick through the wedding mags. Keep looking at more and more inspiration will just confuse you (as well as suck up hours of your time) and your carefully organised plans will go out of the window, again.
7. Don’t Paperchase
Once you have your suppliers and everything is booked, treat yourself and buy a gorgeous new notebook. Write down all your contacts in there and keep them with you. That way if you need to make a phone call or sort something out all your info is in one place. It’s a good idea to print off invoices and keep these close at hand so you can work out a diary schedule of the deposits and final payments. This is especially important if you’re saving as you go as these deadlines could be vital for a healthy bank balance.
Journal from Etsy
8. Plan It with a Pro
If you’re still struggling to get organised then why not speak to us about professional planning help. In just a short session we can help you organise your planning so you’re calm, collected and under control. Our Dolly Hours can really help in getting you on the right track, whether it’s finding suppliers, setting a schedule or just helping with your style guide, we’ll have you back in the planning game in next to no time!
Have you got any tips for getting organised? We’d love to hear them!
I love a weekend away. Nothing beats taking off for a few days and just relaxing and enjoying yourself in good old Blighty. With no airport hassle, passport control and driving on the wrong side of the road to contend with, you can just pitch up, unpack and get to the nearest pub sharpish.
As wedding budgets get tighter the traditional honeymoon is something that many wedding couples are deciding to delay until the bank balance looks a bit healthier. Ergo the rise of the Mini-moon takes hold and we’ve got five cracking places for you to spend your first few days as husband and wife, all without blowing the budget.
1. 5 The Lawn
With lots of glowing reports from lucky visitors this romantic retreat is tucked away on a private road of ten Georgian Villas in St.Leonards, East Sussex and is a great base for exploring the local area. Lovingly built for two, you’ll find everything you need and then some. With its own indoor heated pool, rainbow shower, surround-sound cinema and a fresh water jacuzzi on the terrace, this gorgeous hideaway is perfect for going out, as well as very luxurious staying in.
2. The George in Rye
A personal favourite, I love this gorgeous hotel, where you can dine and relax in style after a days shopping in the many fantastic boutiques along Rye’s quaint little high street. Take a stroll around the harbour or have a lovely walk along the nearby beaches. With gorgeous rooms and a great menu you’ll be back for more.
3. Writer’s Cottage, Whitstable
Enjoy a good book? Then you’ll love Writer’s Cottage to bring out your creative side. Close to all the fabulous pubs and restaurants that Whitstable has to offer this little gem is fantastic for a cosy seaside break. Rent it through Mulberry Cottages or check out their other many romantic little hideaways dotted all over Kent.
4. Elvey Farm, Pluckley
We’ve not managed to get to this one yet but have had heard plenty of good things from those that have. A medieval farmstead, there are eleven rooms at Elvey farm, each one packed full of original features and set in either the Oast House, the old Granary, the Sixteenth Century Barn or the Stable Block. There’s a great menu and the team are very proud of the fact that they use Kent produce from local suppliers. Everything here is fresh, home-made and hearty. Perfect for farm loving folk who like all of life’s little luxuries. Just don’t forget your Hunters for those countryside walks!
5. The Reading Rooms, Margate
Margate might not be first on your list for a romantic break but this town is seriously ramping up it’s tourism charm with the Turner Contemporary for a bit of culture and lots of fabulous cafes and bars. In summer you can hop down to our favourite beach, Joss Bay for a surfing lesson or two or visit nearby Canterbury for a spot of retail therapy. Our accommodation of choice here is The Reading Rooms, which is a small but perfectly formed Georgian B&B. A design haven, the three rooms here cover an entire floor each. Look closely and you might have seen it before on Channel 4′s The Hotel Inspector.
So will you be going on a mini-moon? We’d love to know where!
You won’t get your vintage wedding planning off to a much better start than popping down to Gravesend’s Old Town Hall on Saturday 13th April.
3 Little Birds are organising this gorgeous little Vintage Wedding Fayre which has everything the vintage inspired bride-to-be could possibly need, from milliners to make-up artists and lots more in between.
A unique part of this fayre are the smart little money saving seminars you can join in including “Build your own bouquet” and “DIY Vintage Hair and Make-up” which are run by some of the fantastic vintage and industry experts exhibiting at the fayre. As well as tea and cakes galore you’ll also get to sample live entertainment in Tea Room as well as find that perfect vintage style with the Walk-In Dress Shop by Vintage Curves.
All Brides receive a free goody-bag on arrival and you’ll also be entered into a prize-draw for the chance to win free room hire for a civil ceremony at The Old Town Hall itself.
For more info visit 3 Little Birds.
Happy Vintage Planning!
All images by James Grist Photography
Today on the blog we are meeting the very talented floral designer, Joanne Truby. Joanne is based in Bromley and covers Kent, Essex, Surrey and central London. Specialising in creating beautiful and unique arrangements for weddings and events she works with you throughout the whole design process starting with a free consultation to help discover your own wedding style. We asked Joanne about her designs and how she works with her couples. Lets find out more…
How do you make sure that your Wedding Couples personality is reflected in the flower design?
“I tend to find out a bit about my couples when I meet them for their wedding consultation. Including the type of wedding day they want to have, if they have a particular favourite colour, what they like to do in their spare time and what their likes and dislikes are and if they have a particular theme they want to incorporate into their big day. This then helps me to create designs that I feel will work perfectly for them.”
How do you work with the Bride & Groom to choose colour palettes and the style of flowers?
“I ask Brides to bring along to their consultation any pictures they have where they really like either the colour, the style or even just the mood that it creates or simply inspires them in some way. This is a good starting point to build on. I also ask for a picture of the Wedding Party’s outfits so we can choose a colour combination that will work well with what everyone is wearing. We also do a little scrapbook session where we pick out together favourite images from my floristry books and magazines – this a great exercise particularly for Brides who are a little unsure. It usually highlights a particular style or colour that they love. I always like to tie the flowers into any wedding theme. For example one wedding this year has seaside elements so I have designed centre pieces with ribbon that has a quirky nautical look.”
Some Brides select flowers for their deeper meanings – do you have a favourite?
“Ooh there are so many beautiful flowers it’s really hard just to pick one! I do love all the romantic flowers such as ranunculus, peonies, hydrangeas and of course sweet peas. Although my current favourite is Clematis! I also adore flowers that have a wonderful scent. For me the aroma and smell of fresh flowers is one of the best things about my job.”
How much do the seasons impact on the flowers you can choose for a wedding?
“The seasons have a big impact for sourcing particular flowers. Peonies are very popular and Brides are sometimes disappointed when they are not available but I am a firm believer in only using seasonal flowers. I think it makes you appreciate the flowers and enjoy them that much more when they are in season – if only for a short while! I also buy British flowers where possible and this it totally based around the seasonal calender. It’s great though as when the seasons change you know you have lots of lovely new flowers to look forward to.”
Thanks to Joanne for sharing her design skills and this beautiful wedding with us.
Has the post inspired you? What flowers do you want for your wedding?
Photography Credit: Fiona Kelly
From Tuesday 9th April to Saturday 13th April, Tunbridge Wells jewellers, Payne and Son, will be holding their Annual wedding event packed full of advice and inspiration for your big day. The five day extravaganza will be at their store in the High Street (number 37) and runs from 9.30am to 5pm each day. There’s loads of fabulous wedding suppliers from in and around Tunbridge Wells taking part including us!
The Wedding Dolls will be there to run a “Wedding Worries” session on Saturday 13th between 2pm and 4pm where you can ask as many questions as you like and we’ll try our best to come up with an answer there and then! Whether it’s finding the perfect venue, juggling the budget, sourcing wedding suppliers or stamping your own style on your big day, we’ll be there to give you instant advice and help.
Other suppliers there to share their inspiration and advice are local Bridal designer, Judy Mott Bridal Gowns, Pour Les Femme Bridal Lingerie and Sue Hill with gorgeous bridesmaid dresses alongside SW1 Hair and Beauty for all your hair and make-up needs.
Brilliant photographer, Kerry McNair can help with professional advice on your wedding photography and there’s chauffeur-driven classic cars and limousines on offer from ER Hickmott. Plus plenty of prettiness from floral designers Flowers at Colonnade and the Brew House Hotel showcasing it’s stunning wedding venue.
Not just for the Bride-to-be, this event gives the whole wedding party a chance to get kitted out with style advice for the big day. With Austin Reed for the Groom and Ushers and for the Mother-of-the-bride all wardrobe dilemmas will be sorted by La Belle Femme and Lynne Meek of Styling Matters.
Browsing in store at Payne and Son you’ll find super gift ideas for your ushers and bridesmaids as well as bridal jewellery and accessories.
There’s also special offers available to any couple who buy their engagement ring during the promotion so make sure you get down there and take a look.
Hopefully we’ll see you there!
Image by Kerry McNair
Last month we spent the weekend at the Bluewater Wedding Fair where so many of our blog readers came to say hello! It was lovely to meet so many of you as well as get to know lots more couples starting their wedding planning journey. We ran a competition during the fair to win our wedding planning services and we have now emailed our winners to confirm details of their prize.
For those of you who didn’t win we have an extra special thank you for entering. We’re offering a discount off our next workshop at The Swan in West Malling on Saturday 13th April. The discount gives you £10 off the booking price which means a place at the workshop for a Bride-to-be is just £38.00.
At the workshop you’ll learn our unique style of creative, inspiring and down-to-earth advice that will have you planning like a professional in next to no time. Joanne says “our wedding workshop can really help you work out what you want from your day, whether it’s uncovering your wedding personality to finding suppliers or making day-to-day decisions, it will help reduce the stress and bring back the fun!”
You can also book a guest place if you want to bring a Bridesmaid, friend or your Mum with you. Visit our workshop page for more info and remember to simply enter BluewaterPromo in the discount box to redeem the offer when booking.
Hopefully we’ll see you there!
Let’s face it weddings aren’t cheap. If you’re the Bride & Groom you’re expected to fork out to make your day perfect but now even attending a wedding can be an major exercise in budget control. From the present, to the new outfit, a possible overnight hotel stay and then attending the stag or hen do and you’re looking at a whopping £500 plus just to turn up. So as your guests have really gone to a lot of effort before they arrive try to avoid these five things that will strike fear into their little happy wedding hearts:
1. “I’m Hungry”
Think about the timing of your wedding and when food and drink will be available. Starting a wedding between 12noon and 2pm will mean guests have probably been rushing to make it there and not had much time to think about lunch. If you can provide a little snack or at the very least a drink on arrival or directly after the ceremony then do it. It doesn’t have to be alcohol or canapes! Use your imagination and check out our previous post for hints and tips.
2. “I can’t afford an Xbox”
Expensive wedding gifts always grind with guests. No-one likes a greedy pants and putting personal gifts like the latest games consule or GHD’s on a wedding list can look a bit off, as does a gift list with a minimum present price of over £100. Make sure you mix the list up a bit with gifts of varying prices or use a Honeymoon payment scheme so guests can donate what they want and help you to have fun as you start your married life.
3. “I think I’ve missed the last train”
If your wedding is out in the sticks or a long way from public transport then you will need to think about making sure your guests can have a good time and get home safely. Hiring a bus (red or otherwise) to take guests on mass back to a town centre or local hotel would be fantastic but if your budget doesn’t stretch that far at the very least make sure you book some cabs in advance. That way guests aren’t left without a ride home as sleeping in the Church generally isn’t an option.
4. “Urgh how do you spell C-o-n-g-r-a-t-s”
It never fails to raise a quiet chuckle when you pass around the “Guest Book” and see the looks you get. It ranges from a ‘kill me now I have literally nothing to say’ to ‘yes I’m taking it from you but I’m going to pass it on quickly when I think no-one is looking”. There’s nothing worse than having to write something heart felt and witty into a book once you’ve drunk half your body weight in wine. There’s loads more options out there now from Polaroid Camera Pictures hanging on a washing line, to finger print trees and Quiz books about the Bride and Groom to help your guests along a bit. Much more original and much more fun.
5. “I’ve think my feet have frozen off”
This is a pet hate, maybe because I should only really ever live in the Caribbean, but I hate being cold. To be MADE to get cold is even worse. If you’re having a Winter wedding make sure your venue won’t shove your guests outside in the driving rain or snow whilst rooms are being changed around. If you’re having your ceremony in a Church check with Father George that it’s alright to have the heating on so your guests feet don’t get frozen to the floor. English Summer weddings will also have the chilly evenings to contend with so how about having some wraps or blankets on hand. That way your guests can get nice and toasty and still feel the warm glow of your wedding long into the night.
Remember if you look after your guests first, everything else will fall into place and your suppliers will also be more than happy to bend over backwards to make sure your guests get the best service possible.
Featured Image: Frank Amodo