In 2013 Dolly on the Day become our most popular service and with bookings flying in for 2014 it’s set to become even more in demand as many couples realise they want all their careful planning to go without a hitch.

When we get planning enquiries we’re always asked what the benefits are of hiring an independent wedding planner rather than just using the in-house venue planner. Well in a little nutshell – the venue coordinator works for the venue and the wedding planner works for YOU.

Still thinking “why would I need to pay out for someone else to oversee my wedding day when the venue has someone for free” right? Well here’s our quick five point guide for some extra info…

1. Save Time

We spend the majority of our time sourcing and working with different wedding suppliers. We know who to go to, why and what their areas of expertise are.  This saves one heck of a lot of time in researching and getting samples and quotes. If you’re a busy couple research time is the biggest bug bear but it’s definitely the one area you need to get right. Taking time off work to look at venues or chasing down quotes can become really stressful. We can cut down on serious pavement pounding or internet trawling hours for you both so you can concentrate of other areas of your planning (and life!).

2. Save Money

Yes we know it sounds a bit weird saying you’ll need to pay a wedding planner but you’ll save money. Huh? How’s that? Well just like in our saving time example we also secure discounts with other suppliers to get the best deal for our clients. The suppliers are also happy to reduce the cost as they’re dealing with us and know that we’ll be able to give them quick answers to their questions and have a full brief to get on with the task in hand. This means with less for them to organise directly they’ll reduce the cost of their service (sometimes considerably!)


3. Personalised Service

By using a planner couples are able to stay in complete control of their wedding planning. With one point of contact totally dedicated to them and their plans they can make changes or get updates in one quick phone call. No need to ring five suppliers or wait for calls back from various sources. It’s also easy to share problems and worries with a planner rather than family as they’re not involved in any of the emotional pulls and stresses. They can give you an independent view to help you deal with some of those issues and make a decision that’s right for you. Depending on your level of planning they will always be there on the end of the phone.

Joanne at Hever Castle

4. Budget Control

A planner is there to make sure you don’t go mad with your budget. Once it’s been set they will ensure you are keeping to target and can advise where changes may need to be made. They can also advise on where you can make savings and what DIY elements you can easily add in to save some pennies. In-house planners won’t manage the holistic budget process and will only look after costs associated with catering (if part of the venue service).

5. Full Planning Overview

Some venues will offer a planner as part of their venue hire package. Just make sure though you are clear that an in-house planner will only be managing what happens at the venue. They won’t have an overall view of your wedding and won’t be there as an assistant to you and your wedding party on the day.

If you think you’ll be okay with an in-house venue planner just be sure that you are clear on what they will and won’t do. Check little requirements you have like laying out favours and name places, getting presents for the bridal party and making sure guests are in the right place at the right time. Also check that the wedding planner will actually be working on your day of the wedding (surprising but we’ve been called in at the last minute when the couple finds the in-house planner isn’t actually there on the big day).

There are of course many outstanding venue coordinators who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their clients have a perfect day. We have worked alongside some fabulous ones in Kent and together we have formed a great team. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that the venue coordinator will manage the venue including its own staff, the catering, service and the room changes but us wedding planners have a bigger priority. We make sure your whole wedding runs smoothly and we manage the entire day from start to finish.

If you think you might need some extra help then give us a call for your free consultation.

Emma & Joanne  x


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Wedding Planning

If you’ve already set the date and are getting ready to send out your “save the date” cards why not add your very own wedding website address to the cards.


Stationery by Pretty Wild

Setting up a wedding website is a great way to keep all your guests up to date with all the wedding gossip as well as deal with practical matters such as car parking and directions, hotel booking info, lift-sharing facility and RSVPs. You can manage your guest list online with food options and table planning if you wish as well as polls and surveys about certain aspects of your wedding day including favourite song choices etc.

What’s more it’s free to set up and you can also help everyone get to know your bridal party through profile updates and links with social networking sites meaning once it gets to wedding day there’ll be no unfamiliar faces in suits telling your nearest and dearest where to sit!

Check out Sarah and Thomas’s example and see if it’s for you!


This week has been busy busy busy. We have been making final arrangements for Philippa and Billy who are getting married next month.  Ekkkk the final countdown begins.

Philippa asked the Wedding Dolls to help with the partial planning of her wedding when the stress of organising it, plus fitting in her job as a midwife, was getting a bit too much. With the wedding day now in sight and our couple still busy at work, there are lots of final details to arrange.

The style of the wedding is a vintage English Garden Party which will be held at Philippas’ sisters home, a stunning house which was originally an old hunting lodge. The garden is fantastic and the perfect place for the marquee where the reception will be held after a church ceremony close by.

All 80 guests have confirmed food choices directly to us over the last few weeks meaning the bride and groom have not had to deal with managing spreadsheets or missing orders!  All details were then confirmed to the caterers, Gastro Catering, and now the couple just need to work out their table plan and enjoy a wine tasting day in France. Perks of the job.

The floor plan has been finalised with marquee company, Carron Marquees, who have drawn this to scale so we can see exactly how it will look on the day. Getting a scaled drawing is really important so everyone is clear on the day where things need to go and no mistakes have been made with seating arrangements.

Last week we had a final site visit where we talked through details of the venue set up including lighting in the garden, toilets and parking arrangements. So glamorous!

In these last few weeks we have been in regular contact with Philippa, who calls us whenever she needs advice. Philippa says “some of the last-minute things I have talked to the Wedding Dolls about include hair trials, table planning and keeping the flower girls happy during the wedding breakfast. Nothing if not varied!

Jo has been fantastic and always has an answer to my questions as well as listening to some of my worries. I didn’t realise how stressful planning a wedding at home would be – it definitely seemed like an easy option at the time! But since Jo has been onboard everything has just started to fall into place and now I am really looking forward to the big day – especially knowing the Wedding Dolls will be there to make sure everything runs smoothly.”

With no rest for the wicked next week we will be finalising the photography brief, proofing the band and song list for print and confirming church seating arrangements. Plus we will be working out the three day set-up plan for the marquee and the decor, as well as doing all those last-minute bits of exciting wedding prep!

Happy planning x

Image Credit: Josh Spencer Photography